I was 4 miles into an 11 mile run last Saturday, when I felt a “pop” on the bottom of my right foot as I crossed the corner of Lindsey and Cherokee. My heart sunk, as I wondered if I had popped a tendon or broken my foot. Feeling no pain, however, I looked down at my foot to see what the problem was. To my great surprise, I looked down to see that a fully grown Pit Bull dog had popped my foot! I immediately was seized with fear and came to a complete stop.
“This dog could eat me,” was my initial reaction. My heart raced. However, as I stood on the street corner (somewhat comforted by my very public location), I noticed that the dog had just stopped with me. I began to walk. The dog walked with me. I began to jog. The dog jogged with me. “This dog does not want to eat me, he simply wants some company while he exercises,” was my new epiphany.
The same dog that scared me half to death just moments before, suddenly gave me a strange sense of confidence. As a man who has only owned two dogs in his life (a Carin Terrier in my childhood days – think Toto from the “Wizard of Oz”– and my current Beagle – think Charlie Brown’s Snoopy), I was quite certain that I had never had as much “street cred” as I had that day. I was jogging through a neighborhood wearing a sleeveless shirt with a giant dog that looked like it just walked off the cover of a “Fifty Cent” album. When I realized that the dog was not against me, but for me, my emotion turned from fear to confidence. The dog ran with me for about half a mile until a neighbor saw me with my new friend and realized it was the pet of someone she knew. She graciously grabbed my new companion and returned him to his home.
Since this event happened at mile 4, I had 7 more miles to consider what had just happened. As I thought more about this event, I thought of Isaiah 6. In this great chapter, Isaiah is granted a vision of God’s throne room in heaven. Upon seeing this sight, Isaiah immediately declares a statement of fear, “Woe is me, for I am a man of unclean lips.” However, after Isaiah voices his fear, God has an angel cleanse Isaiah’s lips and assure him that he is an invited guest into the Lord’s presence. As soon as Isaiah realizes that God is not against him but for him, he speaks up with confidence and says to the Lord, “Here I am, send me!”
We serve a holy God, who is on an all important mission in the world. Most of us who understand this, struggle with a key issue. Knowing that God is holy, we feel woefully inadequate and unclean to ever be used by Him for any significant role in His mission of revealing Himself and redeeming humanity in the world. Like me at the corner of Lindsey and Cherokee and Isaiah at his first glimpse of God Himself, we are gripped with fear and cry out “Woe is me.” However, as believers in Jesus Christ, we have been cleansed. Far better than a coal to our lips, His blood has cleansed our souls. Therefore, we can know that our God is for us! He has invited us to jog along with Him in this world as He works through us to incredibly impact the streets on which we live. We need to remember that our God is not against us, He is for us! When we remember that, our fear should turn to confidence as we run the race of purpose He has marked out for us. At the end of our days, Jesus (the Lion of the tribe of Judah) does return home, but He graciously promises to take us with Him. We get to jog with Him now, and live with Him later. No wonder we are told that we are “more than conquerors.”