Monday, August 9, 2010

Thankful for the Heat

Some thoughts of mine a week or so ago...

Thankful for the heat

I don’t know what got into me today, but as I was driving home from work, I thought today might be a good day to go on a run. Now to some of you, this may not seem like a crazy thought to have. But after a movie watching, ice cream eating, “Facebooking” week, this was definitely a wild thought for me.
I got home from work, dressed quickly for fear of changing my mind (trust me I’ve done it before) and headed out the door. The heat hit me instantly. In spite of it, I began the trek up the first hill by my apartment. The sweat instantly started to pour. About 2 miles into my run I thought “Man! If it weren’t so hot out here, this would be so much better! I would have a much better run!” I longed for some cool water. I passed a nasty puddle on the way back home and actually thought it would feel good it stick my face in it. That’s how hot I was. No wonder people do crazy things when they are stranded in the desert heat! After 3.3 miles, (this is a feat for me so I will tack on whatever I can!) I made it back to my apartment. I headed straight for the apartment work- out room where the water fountain was. The air conditioned room was instant relief. I gulped what seemed like the best, coolest water I’d had in my life from the water fountain. Let me tell you, Dasani had nothing on this water! I walked in the weight room, sprawled out on the floor (don’t worry, the room was empty!) and let the cool air dry the sweat on my face. In spite of being in what seemed like paradise for a few minutes, do you know what thought came to my head? I thought, “I am so thankful for the heat!”
Surprised I thought this, I began to think. I was so thankful for the heat because of how much it made me appreciate the coolness of the air and water once I finished my run. Had my run not been hard, I would not have had nearly the appreciation for the reward. Without the adversity we face in our life, we would have nothing to compare the blessings to. Would we really feel blessed for the good things in our life without the adversity to measure up to it?
Suddenly, thanksgiving overflowed from me. James 1:2-3, 12 says “2Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 12Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.” I thought about all the things in my life going on that I thought of as an inconvenience or hardship. I could be joyful that Kyle has been away from home so much because I can be sure that God is using it to grow me in Him, and because I could better appreciate the time Kyle and I did have together. I recalled how joyous our weekend together was a few weeks ago after he’d been away. I appreciated that my family lived far away because if they lived closer, our time together would not be as sweet, and we would not appreciate seeing each other as much. The times I have experienced true joy and growth in my life have almost always followed the times I have experienced hardship in my life.
God quickly refined the lesson he’d taught me the very next day. I went out again for another run. This time, my motivation was not necessarily to do something good for my body, or to thank God for the healthy body he’d given me by taking care of it. Today, my motivation was enduring the heat purely to get the reward I’d experienced the day before. I finished my run, and bee lined straight for the work- out room door. This time, I could not seem to get the code to work. I tried and tried until finally I decided to just head for my apartment. I saw that God does not always promise to immediately reward us the way we think we should be. There is nothing wrong with looking forward to the reward, but if our motivation is solely on the reward and not on persevering to honor and glorify God, we are missing out.
Finally, as a believer, I can appreciate the times in my life that produce perseverance because of a reward greater than any found here on earth: “the crown of life God has promised to those who loved him.”
I hope not another hot summer day will go by that I am not thankful for the heat.

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