The Bare Soul - October 28, 2007
Dancing With Jesus For 26.2 Miles!

II Samuel 6: 14-15 - And David was dancing before the LORD with all his might, and David was wearing a linen ephod. David and all the house of Israel were bringing up the ark of the LORD with shouting and the sound of the trumpet.

Marathon running, for me, has certainly become more of a celebration than an actual test of endurance. Not to diminish what it takes to finish a marathon, for it is truly an arduous undertaking, until one learns the "secret". Training for and completing a marathon is truly a remarkable feat. However, once a person learns and has trained to run long, the journey is really more mental than physical. On top of that, once a person learns that the task at hand is mostly mental (above and beyond their training of course) then they can begin to tap into the "secret" of joyful marathon running.

First of all, one needs to know the Lord to experience this "secret". When one knows that he or she is running with the Lord in a marathon, then something miraculous starts to happen. A small smile at the beginning of the marathon turns into a larger grin. The smile broadens as one waves to the spectators and high-fives kids along the way. Soon, songs of praise are bubbling up in one's heart and spilling out through the mouth. The volume grows as the joy gets greater. The "secret" is revealed --The joy of the Lord is your strength! (Nehemiah 8:10). The prophet Isaiah expounded on this even more by stating in chapter 12 verse 3 that ... with joy you will draw from the wells of salvation. What a wonderful image of the "Living Water" that God seeks to give us all where we will never thirst again! (Recently, when running the Kansas City Marathon, I shouted to others around me when we were going through a water stop that Jesus would give them Living Water where they would never thirst again! This gave me great joy to be able to share this truth!)

Then, the realization hits you after a few miles. Not only have I been running with Jesus, but we are in the middle of an orchestrated worship event where the running has turned into a rhythmic celebration of the glory of God through the legs of humankind. Flash back, if you will, 3,000 years to the reign of King David and his passionate, exuberant celebration before God with dancing as the ark of the covenant was returned from Philistine hands back to the Israelites and most appropriately to Jerusalem. David demonstrated the reality of his closeness to God and His ark by his abandonment to the dance of the Lord. In the same way,  running a marathon with the joy of the Lord is nothing less than a choreographed dance with Jesus for 26.2 miles!

Of course, with every act of extravagant obedience to the Lord there will be criticism. While I did not hear any while out on the course or through my reporting of this wonderful event, there will always be those who sit and gaze out their respective windows as Michal, the wife of David and daughter of Saul did on the day the ark came into Jerusalem. She noted her husband dancing before the Lord with all his might and she despised him in her heart (see II Samuel 6). Michal confronted David about her disdain stating that he looked like a fool in the eyes of his subjects. David merely replied that he was dancing for the Lord, and not for her or any other and that God had chosen him over her father Saul to rule Israel. This was the last time the bible mentions Michal, stating that God shut up her womb and gave David no children.

There will always be those who will seek to criticize when we give extravagantly to the Lord whether it is in the midst of a marathon or in our daily lives. These can be well meaning folks -- friends, relatives, Christians, non-Chriistians, whoever. If unrepentant, these will continue with their judgment throughout their lives and remain barren of true joy and fruits that would lead to their ultimate salvation. The world is full of these type of folk. However, God is looking for a people that would dance with His Son and not be ashamed -- those who would embrace this marathon event called LIFE and engage in a beautifully choreographed dance with him all the way to the finish line. Are you ready to dance, my friend? He is waiting for your embrace!!

Your Humble Barefoot Servant!

Barefoot Rick

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