The Bare Soul - April 29, 2007
Run By Faith And Not By Sight!

For a barefoot runner, that can be a tall order! So often I have prided myself since becoming a shoeless runner of my increased ability of eye/footstrike coordination. Probably the question I get the most is "Don't you ever step on anything that hurts?" Well, "yes", I answer, "sometimes" but I tell them that you merely watch out for the big stuff and you don't worry about the little stuff. Minor inconveniences such as pebbles or sticks and such are minor irritants in light of the joy I receive from running barefoot.

Then there are those situations where I have been forced by my work schedule or some other thing, to run in the evening or at night time. That can make an interesting run for a barefoot runner. What is one to do to avoid stepping on something hazardous? Well, for one thing I avoid running after dark as much as possible. However, when the situation arises that I will either run or skip a day, I would much rather run and take the risk. I find running at night barefoot is a true step of faith. Amazingly, however, you would be surprised how these runs have invariably turned out fine with no contusions or feet damage in any way. Undoubtedly, if I made a regular practice of night barefoot running, the odds are that I would encounter some unpleasant sensations in time. That can only be expected when running blindly.

Often times in life, the "night time of the soul" cannot be avoided. We risk the lessons that God might be trying to teach us if we avoid these times. The Lord tells us in His still, small voice to trust in His guidance and He will lead us to the other side. To avoid the journey is only to postpone the inevitable, because if we don't face the encounter in God's time then it will be a reoccurring challenge until we do.

Just as a steady regimen of night time barefoot running would be foolish and presumptive on my part, neither does God expect us to travail in only feeling His hand in ours on those night time journeys. There were many times as children that our parents held our hands as we walked to our play time destinations. Then, we let go from from their gentle touch as we ran free in the sunshine (and in the Sonshine of our souls) as our parents looked on whether at a park or a similar setting. They had no desire to restrict our creative natures as we explored and subdued our interests within their eyesight. Within that close eye of our protectors, we felt the joy of freedom! God wants us to feel that same joy today -- to experience his joy as He looks on while we bask in his glory and also to know the joy of his closeness but also as He leads us by the hand while all around us is darkness.

Psalm 118:5 states "From my distress I called upon the Lord; The Lord answered me and set me in a large place." When reading and re-reading this verse over the years I have often pictured a place of darkness and confinement that God helps to lead us out of and then we come into a glorious field full of new life and sunshine. There is freedom to romp and play with the ever watchful eye of our Lord.

It will sometimes be necessary for this daily barefoot runner to run when there is not the best light, and there is a chance and a risk of stepping on something not very comfortable. In these times, I know God will be helping me. I know that presumptuously putting myself in danger if there is not reason to be there is not a wise decision. In the same way, I know that God will inevitably lead me through those places of seeming confinement in my life -- of darkness and unbelief and He will set me into that large pasture of his pleasure to run free under his watchful eye! Running by faith, both in reality and as analogous to our "walk of faith" is neither presumptive nor risky if done with prudence and under the watchful eye of our Heavenly Father.

Having a Blessed Barefoot Blast!

Barefoot Rick

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