My husband and I took our dog on a 3 mile run. Our dog is a little dog, and he loves to run with us, but because of where we have moved (no sidewalks and a busy road) we haven’t taken him on a lot of our runs lately. Well, this particular run Jacques (pronounced Jock) was incredibly happy to be running with us and was running at full speed. Michael held his leash and kept up with him, eventually Jacques slowed down to a normal pace and set in for the run. While we were coming up on the last bit of our run Jacques kept getting slower and slower until I couldn’t even hear him behind me anymore. All of a sudden I see in my peripheral a fluffy white dog bobbing up and down at my eye level. I look over and Michael is carrying Jacques. I laughed so hard I didn’t think I would finish the last 10th of a mile. Jacques had given his everything and couldn’t go any farther, so Michael picked him up to finish our run.
This story has been on my mind ever since it happened, which has been almost a week at this point. At first I just thought it was a funny story of the best dog dad ever. Backstory on the dog, Michael and I are cat people, but we got this dog because of our youngest and his prayer that God answered. That should be a whole different blog post, as it’s a pretty cool story. Anyways, this story of Michael carrying Jacques to the “finish line” has been bouncing around in my mind all week. Each morning while I have read my Bible and journaled I have seen more and more parallels to real life within this story.
When Jacques first started he was so excited he took off sprinting at full speed. When I first accepted Christ I was sprinting at full speed and I’ve had other times in life when I feel on fire and am just running full speed toward God. Then there comes times when, like Jacques, I slow down and just live life at a normal pace, settling in for the long run. These are the times that life feels easy and my faith feels strong.
If only that could be the way life always goes, but unfortunately there comes times when we slow down and things get harder. When the run was getting harder for Jacques he started getting distracted and stopping at light poles, signs, mailboxes, mounds of snow, really anything that he could make a distraction. This made our run slow as we waited on him before taking off again. Do you ever feel distracted in life? Distractions are everywhere, we can’t avoid them. Having a solid relationship with Jesus and a routine of Bible time is what pulls me through those distractions. I am able to remember where my focus needs to be, which is at the end of the race.
Sometimes, though, we are in such a hard place that we need to be carried. At first when I saw Michael carrying our dog I only laughed, but as the story set into my memory, I see it as an analogy of life. Jacques couldn’t go another step, he needed carried, he needed help to complete the race. These are the low times in life, the low times in our walk with Jesus. I am just coming out of a low time, a time that was probably my lowest I have ever been at in my relationship with God. I am so very thankful for the people around me that carried me, whether they knew it or not. I had a friend during this time that would ask me tons of questions. She would ask me random questions about life, cooking, parenting, about the Bible and more. She was younger than me, in age and in faith, but I learned so much from her. She was always so encouraging and her faith pushed me to Jesus.
When Michael and I worked in youth ministry a common question we got was how do you keep up with reading the Bible and being close to Jesus when it feels so empty, or when you’ve gotten off track. I recently was asked this again and this time my answer was more from my heart then my head. I experienced five long years of silence from God. I would read my Bible and it felt like empty words. I tried journaling, which is my favorite way to pray and process with God, and there was nothing. I felt empty inside. At one point, I even wondered if I was truly saved. Then one day, like flood waters, God started speaking to me. I couldn’t get enough, I filled a journal with words that were stuck inside for five years. The best part was I started recognizing ways God was in those five years. Is God silent in your life right now? Do you need to be carried? You are not alone. This, I feel, is a normal part of our walk with God. Keep pressing towards God. Remember how you would feel God’s presence at the dead sprint of your relationship and keep doing that until the flood waters break through. He’s there with you. He’s probably carrying you right now. I wish I had a picture to show you of Michael carrying Jacques, but you can paint the picture in your mind. That is how I imagine God was carrying me those five years, and many other times in life.