This week, as we Bostonians celebrate Patriot’s Day and the Boston Marathon, I hear the Lord speaking about the spiritual races we are running. He’s saying:
“Listen! Sit with Me and listen, for you will advance more prosperously in your way by listening than by doing it all yourself. Everything is connected. When you miss Me, you also miss those around you, creating a deeper rift than just between you and Me. Allow My voice to penetrate your being FIRST, then move in response to that sound! So many of you are off before the starting gun, eager to win the race but unwise in how you proceed. What seems tedious to you now, or cumbersome, is actually a key to your success. If you could see these things as Divine “setups,” rather than human “setbacks,” you would settle sooner into your pace and welcome the “pacers” that they are! S/He who goes out too quickly in the beginning will not make it in the end. Be responsive to My timing, realizing that I have put pacers all along your way to keep you from reducing yourself to a crumpled heap mid-stream. Follow My lead continually, not resenting the perceived setbacks, but rather, adjusting yourself to them, for they are there to bring you to your desired end in perfect timing.”
The previous spiritual season was all about alignment – being sure we were strategically connected with the right groups of people in order to maximize Kingdom effectiveness. This season we have heard words such as advancement, acceleration, and breakthrough. None of these “new” things will be possible without FIRST listening for our spiritual “starting gun.”
We see other believers going out ahead of us and we want to run, too. We think we are unfairly positioned or lost in the crowd of runners starting ahead of us. The truth is, the Spirit of God has lined us up according to our own running pace, in a marathon-like “wave” start. Although we run in a group with similar skill and speed, we are not competing with each other, but only with ourselves. To try to run like the elite when God is simply training us to finish a first marathon would be foolish at best!
For many of us who are in seasons where we need marathon-level endurance, there are things in our lives that we see as impediments, things that seem to be deterring us from running our race as fast as we’d like.
God wants to renew our minds so that we remember that HE is the organizer and overseer of each race. He aligned us properly in the last season, and He will show us when to accelerate and advance with His Spirit! Wait for the Spirit’s starting gun and allow these perceived setbacks to be your pacers, to keep you from moving ahead too quickly! In overcoming them you will learn warfare, perseverance, love, and a host of other things that will actually help you complete your journey.
Others of us are called to run a different type of race right now: a faster, short-distance run.
In a shorter-distance race, a runner must “stay in his lane” until he reaches the “break point,” the place where runners have been given a fair and measured distance to run and “sort themselves out,” so to speak. At the “break point,” each runner now has the opportunity to move into the faster lane (lane one) on the track, without jostling or harming the others.
As I walked my town’s racetrack this morning, the Lord highlighted this break point to me and said, “This is the BREAKTHROUGH point!” This is the place where, having run in your lane and done what I’ve called you to do for a season, you must now move into a new position in order to accelerate and win your race!” It was a powerful illustration for me of how we are to react during this season of acceleration and breakthrough.
The essential key is this: No matter what type of “race” you are running, you must listen for the starting gun daily before going off on your own. To advance too quickly or accelerate too soon will either disqualify you completely or leave you empty and defeated along the way, having accomplished nothing. Ask the Lord for His timing. Far better to run with the gentle wind of the Spirit at your back, the warm glow of the Son upon your face, and the sound of heaven’s witnesses cheering you on!
© Deborah Perkins / www.HisInscriptions.com
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A severe hearing loss from childhood caused Deborah Perkins to develop what she now calls her secret weapon: tuning in to God's voice. A Wellesley College graduate and an award-winning writer, Deborah is now a wife and mother of 3 boys. Deborah has devoted over 25 years to professional and lay Christian ministry in New England and beyond. Her passion is inspiring people to cultivate greater intimacy with God.