Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3: 12-14 NIV)
Perched on my bright, pink bike, I pulled out of my garage for an early morning ride. A slightly cooler temperature than normal welcomed me as rode in the sunshine.
A tiny breeze ruffled my hair while I went up and down vacant streets around the neighborhood. In my area trees shaded the street.
But in the newer sections, spindly oaks offered little cover. Only a few empty lots remained in the vast region. When we moved into our home, a forest of towering trees filled with wildlife occupied that space.
Frequently, I looked down at my Apple watch to see my distance and time. Two miles and then three miles. Watching the mileage motivated me to try completing four miles.
My legs pumped with renewed strength. I surpassed my goal of four miles and made it to four and a half. My heart rate increased but I kept pedaling past my home. I circled a lake beyond my house a few times to get to five miles.
When I pulled into my driveway, I checked the mileage and stopped the watch at five and three tenths miles.
For me, that was a huge accomplishment. As the pandemic began, bronchitis kept me down for two weeks. Gradually, strength returned little by little. Walks and bike rides brought on extreme shortness of breath. Going one half mile wore me out.
The doctor prescribed an inhaler. The first one did little to alleviate my difficult breathing. The second one helped but didn’t eliminate the problem. I persisted and alternated walking and biking almost every day.
Early exercise brought cooler temperatures. I talked to neighbors who passed by. On walks, I listened to podcasts of sermons which propelled me to continue. Improvements in distance and time motivated me to not quit.
Daily exercises produced more energy and awakened my sense of thankfulness for God’s creation as I noticed it around my neighborhood. Podcasts of Christian speakers fed my soul and kept me moving spiritually and physically.
In the midst of the pandemic with all of its horrible consequences, positive outcomes occur too.
Father, thank you for meeting us during tough times. You appear in unexpected circumstances and strengthen us despite our trials. Amen