Cross Country in the Rain
By Cynthia Ruchti
Rain? More sleet than rain.
As I drove with the heat cranked up as high as it would go and the vents blowing on my feet and face at the same time, huddled over the steering wheel as if it were a glowing log in the fireplace, I noticed a handful of young people in shorts and t-shirts running along the side of the road. On this ugliest day in the history of ugly, the high school’s cross country team members showed up for practice and ran…in the sleet.
Behind the handful of runners came another bunch, and another. While I bent over my steering wheel in the comfort of my vehicle, they leaned into the wind and rain, their legs pumping, arms slick with the precipitation that coated the sidewalks and roadway. One foot in front of the other. Silent. Focused. Plodding forward despite the Terrible, No Good, and Awful Day.
Why would they do that?
Because stamina and endurance through hardship make cross country a sport rather than a stroll. Because running in adverse conditions makes cross country runners conquerors. Because it’s a victory just to show up for practice when conditions are ugly.
And there it was. My life lesson for the day.
That’s what defines CROSS country, too. Because of the cross of Jesus Christ, we are called and enabled to face hardship with stamina and endurance. It’s what we do. It’s what makes CROSS country a faith, not a religion. It’s what reveals that we are sons and daughters of The Conqueror. And yes, it’s a victory just to show up for practice when conditions are ugly.
When the answer we crave comes disguised as its opposite. When hope hides. When we’re caught out in “weather” we’re not prepared for. When the people around us aren’t cheering us on but tripping us. When a diagnosis makes us shiver uncontrollably and the road signs tell us we have far to go yet. But that’s what makes it CROSS country. It’s what makes this walk of faith remarkable. Because of His life within us, we keep running no matter what the conditions. It’s what makes the watching world ask, “I wonder what makes them able to do that?”
And we answer, “Not what. Who.”
PRAYER: Lord, I don’t like showing up for practice on ugly days. But I know it’s not remarkable to run in the sun. When I think of what You went through for me, how can I complain about a little emotional sleet?
“Let us run with patience the race that is set before us,” Hebrews 12:1b KJV.
Today’s devotional is by Cynthia Ruchti, writer and producer of the radio ministry THE HEARTBEAT OF THE HOME and current president of American Christian Fiction Writers. Cynthia’s debut novel—They Almost Always Come Home—releases from Abingdon Press in Spring 2010. Cynthia writes stories of hope that glows in the dark. www.cynthiaruchti.com.