By Sarah Lloyd
I have run more over the past three weeks than the past three months. Although I began running competitively nearly two decades ago, my frequency and intensity both plummeted when I graduated and was no longer a member of a team. With no accountability and no sense of my teammates depending on me for scoring points and pacing workouts, it became easy to choose work, sleep, or relaxation over heading out for a run by myself. However, all of my excuses recently dissolved when social events were suddenly canceled and my commute to work was eliminated, so I returned to a consistent exercise routine.
Each time I start running again, I am amazed by how hard it is. The fitness I used to enjoy feels like a lifetime ago, and yet also somehow familiar. Although I doubt I will ever regain the speed I had as a competitive runner, the workout strategies I learned back then have allowed me to quickly return to decent fitness over these past few weeks, while avoiding injury. I’ve noticed a similar pattern with biblical principles. The lessons I have learned through studying the Bible with my sisters at UFC over the past two years return to my mind with new, deeper applications in this novel situation.
Jude taught me that I have mercy, peace, and love from God Himself — three incredible gifts when social distancing! I am kept for Jesus Christ no matter what happens in the world around me, and my God is able to keep me from stumbling as I live one day at a time.
Joshua taught me to hold in tension things I don’t fully understand, especially when my perfect God allows things in the world that seem unjust or evil. I can be strong and courageous even when I have no specific plan and no idea of what will happen in the future.
Ruth taught me that although I can’t control my circumstances, I can choose whether I will respond with bitterness like Naomi did at first, or with the gratitude, faith, and trust in God she learned by the end of the book. I can faithfully perform my work for today, as Ruth gleaned in the harvest fields, knowing that my God works through natural disasters and seemingly hopeless situations.
1 Peter taught me that my inheritance in heaven is secure, even when upheaval surrounds me on earth. I can submit to those in authority over me, even when their actions seem unjust, because I am trusting my faithful God rather than fallible human leadership.
None Like Him taught me that, although I am frustrated by my limited abilities to know and to control the future or the present, God is omniscient and eternal. Any control I thought I had was actually a mirage, and there is rest and peace to be found in esteeming God alone as sovereign.
As UFC women, we are currently reflecting on the Psalms of Ascents, and getting ready for a study of In His Image by Jen Wilkin. What familiar lessons will gain new meaning as we study together the timeless truths of these books during this unusual time in history? April 2020 looks very different today than I thought it would several weeks ago, but our God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. My favorite songs and passages of Scripture have offered more profound comfort and deeper meaning this month than before, and I look forward to savoring the opportunity to strengthen our faith together during this unique period in history. Let’s make the best use of the time we have this month, together.
“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.”Ephesians 5:15-16