Life with God: Two Ways to Run through Psalms

Do you have favorite books of the Bible that resonate with you? It’s uncanny, as if they can peer into your life like modern-day spy equipment, despite being penned millenia ago. Psalms is like that for me.

photo by Andy Arthur

photo by Andy Arthur

No matter what’s happening, I can search these poem-songs and find truth that speaks right to what’s going on. Funny how God can do that through the Bible. =)

Two things in recent days have stuck with me after reading Psalm 119 in particular. Both evoke images of running. I’ve had running on the brain lately because I’m slowly (in more ways than one) working my way to running a 5K. …Not run/walk/hyperventilate/run/walk. Run.

These ideas show that we can run with God whether or not our real running shoes ever pound pavement.

1. We can run in freedom.

Psalm 119 is a love song to God’s Word if ever there was one. Verse 32 (NIV) says this: “I run in the path of your commands, for you have set my heart free.” Not stroll, cower, or pick our way down life’s path. Not run/walk. Run. His ways, His commands clear a sure trail in the dense forest that we can charge through.

His path isn’t confining. Like the trees in the picture above, He doesn’t hold us prisoner on a treacherous trail to nowhere. The trees bracket the path and beckon us onward in His purpose for us. And like those trees, God lines our path with His protection. He’s standing¬† guard to shield us from dangers lurking in the forest that don’t serve His plans. We can run free, escorted by His protection.

I struggle with this at times, don’t you? I want to arm myself with my own compass, map, and GPS to navigate life’s twisty path. Even then, steps skew tentative. How much more secure, more fun it can be to chase down the path God has already cleared, even if we see only a few steps ahead of us. He charges us to move ahead in confidence that His commands pave the way.

2. We can run now.

Verse 60 of Psalm 119 adds, “I will hasten and not delay to obey your commands.” When you were a kid and your parents asked you to do something, did you jump up and run to comply? I did, but it was usually to run away from what I was supposed to do. And well-earned consequences followed.

We don’t like obedience. My spine stiffens just hearing the word. But the more we get to know God and His Word, the more we realize that obedience to His commands holds the only peace and security in this chaotic mess of a world. To disobey means to march into harm’s way, either sooner or later.

Another paraphrase of this verse describes “not dragging my feet.” Often I know God’s directions yet stay rooted in place. I deliberate the pros and cons as if I know better than Him. (Ouch. My running shoes need steel toes.) Yet God quietly urges me to run. Now. Not next week, next year. Run the path of His plan, run away from the dangers I can’t possibly see with human eyes.

And countless souls who’ve finished the race before us cheer us on: Run in freedom, run now.

Your turn: Which is harder to act on: freedom or obedience? On a very different note, what’s one race or sport you’d take part in if you magically had the ability?