Today, however, was different. Today I ran my annual birthday race with the Sumrall First Baptist F.O.G. (Followers Of God) to help raise funds for their youth to go to summer camp. I love this race and the people who put it on. They are such encouragers, and this race sort of sets the stage for my next year of life. I really labored to finish this race, which somehow finds all the hills in Mississippi and compresses them into 3.1 miles. I'm sure running a race the night before didn't help, but still I was hoping to cut a few seconds off my recent times.
After about 3/4 mile, I knew this wouldn't be a fast race for me, but the real story happened in the very last few minutes of the race. I rounded the corner to face the final hill of the run and then I felt it. A small rock had found its way past my heel and now rested squarely underneath my foot. I knew I could stop and remove the stone, but I was so close to the end, I decided to just keep on running.
With each step, I felt that little rock. It wasn't a huge pain, but it was annoying. Step, rock, step, rock, step, rock.
I finished the race with that rock in my shoe and then I sat down to remove the offender. I tipped my shoe forward to shake out a small, almost perfectly round white pebble. It is amazing that something so small could be such an irritant. I've been thinking about that rock ever since.
I have a good friend who once said to me, "I find that we don't often choose our battles, but they are chosen for us....and if they are chosen for us, it's because He has made a way for us to win."
I certainly didn't choose that rock today. It somehow sought me out and jumped into my shoe! By the standards of other rocks, it was nothing really - not even worth stopping for. I wonder how many other things in my life are like that little rock? Compared to my "Rocks of Ebenezer", that rock was nothing! God had already helped me run the race, all I had to do was finish....rock and all.
Whatever trials this coming year may bring, I now have a reminder that they are nothing more than a "pebble in my shoe". They can't compare to the Rocks of Ebenezer I have as a reminder of all God has done for me.
1 Samuel 7:12 "Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far the LORD has helped us.”
Lamentations 3:22-23 "Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness."