It was another Sunday morning like many others. Our pastor was greeting us in his special loving way to help us feel at ease before he began his sermon. With pen in hand, my notepad ready, along with my Bible, and prayed up for our Lord to speak through him, I sat alert and hungry for the Word to be opened.
Turning to Psalm 46, as requested, I wondered what we would be drawing from within this psalm. I was familiar with the first verse: “God is our refuge and strength, an even-present help in trouble.” I had no idea that within the period of time of this message I would be able to draw strength and courage for the upcoming 100 mile race (The Graveyard 100) that I was concerned about doing. It will to be my first of that distance and one of extra importance: money to be raised to help people in remote villages’ access clean water, for free, in Africa.
As the pastor spoke my mind drifted to that course that I would be on. It will be along the coast of the Otter Banks of North Carolina. The month of March with the temperature in the 30’s or 40’s (was last year). Winds blowing sand and cold water crashing close by us. It will be dark when we start and dark most of the last miles of that press to cross that finish line. ~~ Yes, I was concerned very much about if I would be able to do that distance with so much to overcome besides the many miles.
I was brought back into that church room when I heard him quote:
“Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall
into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains
quake with their surging.” (Verses 2 -3 NIV)
I knew that the conditions would not be that bad but the fact that if they were my God had these words for me: “Therefore we will not fear…”
Then I heard “There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day.” (Verses 4-5 NIV)
Verses from the New Testament burst from within my beings!
“Jesus answered her, ‘If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.’” (John 4:10 NIV)
“Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” (John 7:38 NIV)
“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;” (1 Cor. 6:19)
YES! I know Who the ‘gift of God’ is; about the ‘Living Water’; and that my body is the ‘temple of the Holy Spirit’! I know that when I am running anywhere, anytime, my Lord is there being ‘accessible, an ‘ageless Refuge’ and is truly ‘omnipresent’. He is truly ‘awesome!’ “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (Heb 13:8 NIV). His presence is truly sustaining!
The spirit of darkness will be along that seemingly endless 100 mile course with attacks of doubt, fear, pain, wiriness as well as times of hunger. But PTL! There will be no contest between the start line and that finish line – I am running as a ‘child of God’ ( “Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” John 1:12 NIV) and as an ambassador to the ‘King of Kings’! (“We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.” 2 Cor. 5:20).
With the help of my Christian running partner, Jesse Hardy, the full service aid stations (located approx every 20 miles with food, sports drinks, etc), the proper running clothing and gear such as a hydration pack – to go with my ‘spiritual hydration pack’, the armor of God and my faith, the miles will be conquered within the watchful eyes of my Heavenly Father.
I want to share with you the wonderful way THE MESSAGE© translation has about the armor in Ephesians 6: 10-18:
“[A Fight to the Finish] And that about wraps it up. God is strong, and he wants you strong. So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way. This is no afternoon athletic contest that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels. …”
The watery grave along the course of ‘THE GRAVEYARD 100’, with its sunken ships and loss of many lives from years gone by, will have us and many others remember the area as the miles taken on to run and raise needed financial help, so that Epicenter Solutions (a non-government, non-profit organization) can install more wells (boreholes) in the Lower Shire region of Malawi and Mozambique, Africa.
The thirty hours timeline window will clearly allow us to bring hope and needed life supporting water to many Africans. Many, who do not yet know, will have a better chance to live and get to know Jesus – ‘the Living Water’.