When we run in the opposite direction we see a clearer view of God’s intention. I have been running Jamaica Pond in the same direction for nearly three years. Until last week, when I ran the other way. As soon as I was about to take a step my normal direction, I felt this impression in me telling me to run the other way. I didn’t doubt it. I didn’t question it. I ran with it. Literally.
My friend took a photography class once and the teacher told the class that often times the best views are the views behind you. I wasn’t taking pictures on this run, but that statement rang in my head as I made my way around the Pond. I saw the best views of the trees, foliage, viewpoints, and terrain. Views that are normally behind me. As I ran, I was in awe of the beauty of the landscape and I was proud of the altitudes of the terrain that I hadn’t realized I climbed when I ran in my usual direction. In many ways, running the other way made me feel like I was running around a new pond.
I knew that God was up to something with this. I knew the impression in me was Him telling me to run the other way. But I didn’t have a full picture of His intention that day or even in the days that followed.
Until this past Sunday. I was in church singing and praying during the worship set and a friend came to pray for me. She started off talking to God about how weak I was feeling and how I felt like I didn’t have the strength to keep going. All of these are true feelings in the midst of my own tension between God’s promises and their fulfillment.
Then she said, but we can look back and see how You’ve brought her to this place through other moments of feeling weak with no strength to keep going. In that moment, God brought into my mind that impression and experience of running the other way. I saw myself running the other way and realizing the amazing views that were behind me on every run for three years. Then, I saw myself running the other way in my life and remembering the amazing views behind me. The beautiful landscapes of God’s faithfulness. The wonderful victories over challenging terrains.
There’s clarity in remembering. When we remember, we take the time to run the other way and see the great views behind us. Looking backwards helps us look forward with clarity. We see that God’s intentions towards us and for us have never changed. We trace the terrain of His faithfulness. We track the steps of the victories. We discover ourselves in His greater story of redemption and restoration. We recover the truth of our transformation – that we have been transformed, we are being transformed, and we will be transformed. We run the other way to remember.
When I think of remembering, the book of Deuteronomy always comes to my mind. Moses is writing to the generation that would enter into the Promised Land and possess the promise of God for the people of God. His theme is a theme of remembrance. In particular, Deuteronomy 8 is a beautiful encouragement to run the other way.
And you shall remember the WHOLE way that the Lord your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not. Deuteronomy 8:2
Moses encourages us to run the other way to remember the WHOLE way that the Lord has led us through in our moments of wandering. When we remember, we are humbled seeing that God tested us to forge in us a heart fully committed to His ways. When we remember, we are encouraged at our core from the seasons the Lord has brought us through.
My friend continued to pray that based on looking back, we can look forward knowing there is strength for this season. In my mind, I could see myself running in my normal direction around the Pond with a renewed sense of enthusiasm knowing what’s behind me. I could see the race of my life – still in the tension – with a sense of encouragement. I knew that the great views behind me of God’s faithfulness and our victories are there to give me the enthusiasm to continue running.
I could see God’s intentions for me clearly. His intentions for me to not give up. His intentions for me to keep running. His intentions for me to be tenacious in the tension.
Moses continues his encouragement in verses 7-10 saying:
For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, flowing out in the valleys and hills, a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, and a land of olive trees and honey, a land in which you will eat bread without scarcity, in which you will lack nothing, a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills you can dig copper. And you shall eat and be full, and you shall bless the Lord your God for the good land he has given you.
There’s so much I wish we could talk about in these verses, but let’s just focus our attention to the words, “he has given you.” These words are in the past tense. But wait, didn’t these verses start off in the present tense saying, “God is bringing you”? Does Moses have bad grammar? Not at all.
Here’s two important things to remember about the intentions of God:
- He’s called you to run towards a vision He has already given you.
- He’s promised you something that’s already yours.
We run in the opposite direction to a clearer view of His intention for our normal direction.
Today, I ran in my normal direction. I ran thinking of the great views behind me. And guess what? I ran faster than my average pace per mile. I ran stronger and steadier than I’ve run in weeks.
Running the other way gives us the encouragement to return toward running towards His vision and His promises for us. Let’s take time to run the other way and remember. Let’s run in the opposite direction to see a clearer view of His intentions.
Color You _____ Moments
- What are some moments when God has been faithful to you?
- What are some moment when God has helped you to be victorious?
- Based on those moments, what are some themes of God and your story?
- How can those themes encourage you to run towards God’s vision and promises for you?
In the tension together,