Our guest writer this week is the lovely Lucy Chadburn from Maths… thanks for sharing your prayer and reflection.
Frequently on a Saturday morning, you will find me at the Hove Park at 9am ready for the weekly 5km Parkrun (which I highly recommend to everyone!). Some Saturdays I absolutely fly around no problem, but as you can imagine, after a long week I’m not always at my peak freshness when 400+ runners line up! A few weeks back, it was one of those mornings… so I look out amongst the runner to spot the guy in the florescent jacket who is going to be pacing 24 minutes! If I stick with him, he’ll get me to finish line in a decent time and give me that extra bit of a support that I need. So I squeeze through the babble and plonk myself just behind him.
And we’re off, great start, get into a good stride, and a comfortable 2 metres behind, taking slight advantage of wind shield too! But then that 2m’s doubled and I started to slip behind, exposed to the elements again, my pacemaker a good 20m in front of me now! What shall I do now, I just can’t keep up.
But then I look around and realise, he’s not the only one who can lead me. Yes he sets a fantastic example and was the obvious person to follow at first. But looking around, I realise that all the people around me, have that ability too… it just wasn’t so obvious first. Now I’ve got a choice of many different people who I could follow. I look around and see one person who’s doing that really annoying thing where they sprint for 30m and then stop, and then sprint again …. That’s not my pace. A guy with an exceptionally long stride length who looks like he’s running in slow motion…. Nah that’s not my pace… and then I find someone who’s pace is challenging, but manageable and I feel supported again.
The bright light of the 24 minute pacer is still in the distance and that is great to see. But actually it’s the people around me now who I am following and who are leading me to the finishing line and who give me a pat on the back at the end.
Sometimes following Jesus can be seen as quite an awesome invitation. But for me, following Jesus is an invitation to open our eyes, recognise and follow the fantastic Christian examples that we see around us each and every day. Their pace might not have been so obvious at first to follow, like the man in the fluorescent jacket… but their support and guidance is perfect.
Jesus asked the disciples to ‘leave their fishing nets and boats upon the shore ‘ and to follow me… an awesome invitation. For us , there might be times when we need to openly confirm our commitment to Jesus (weddings , confirmation etc ) , but everyday we are presented with the opportunity to follow in the light of Jesus through the people we meet, choices we make and actions we take.
I urge you to keep your eye on the main pacemaker, but remember that sometimes we get inspiration from the unexpected.
And don’t forget… that behind you, there might be someone following you too, so set a good pace and we’ll all help each other to reach the reward at the finish.
I’d like to finish with one of my favourite prayers which always has quite a powerful impact on me when I hear it….
One night I had a dream…
I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord, and Across the sky flashed scenes from my life. For each scene I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand; One belonged to me, and the other to the Lord. When the last scene of my life flashed before us, I looked back at the footprints in the sand. I noticed that many times along the path of my life, There was only one set of footprints.
I also noticed that it happened at the very lowest and saddest times in my life This really bothered me, and I questioned the Lord about it. “Lord, you said that once I decided to follow you, You would walk with me all the way; But I have noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life, There is only one set of footprints. I don’t understand why in times when I needed you the most, you should leave me.
The Lord replied, “My precious, precious child. I love you, and I would never, never leave you during your times of trial and suffering. When you saw only one set of footprints, It was then that I carried you.