“Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.”

(Acts 14:22)

I may not live in one of those countries that are outright hostile to Christians… praise the Lord, but I still have hardships.

We all do. We live in a culture full of death, abuse, immorality, sin, lust, vulgarism… It’s easy to look around and say…

“My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle, and come to an end without hope.” (Job 7:6)

Without hope.

That’s kind of how I felt this morning when I woke up around 6:15 and realized it was a “run day.”

I started the Couch to 5K program on Friday. I was already doing interval training on the treadmill, and I like it, but I was ready to transition to running outside again. (Here in Wisconsin it is just about to be spring.)

Whenever I switch from treadmill to outside running, I get caught up. It’s almost as though my body is completely new to running. I have been doing intervals on the treadmill pretty steadily three times a week for a while. Those intervals are jogging/sprinting.
Now I’m starting over, and it’s killing me! I ran on a treadmill last Wednesday. Nearly 1.5 miles in 16 minutes (intervals of 4.something and 7.something).
On Friday, I ran outside. 1.47 in 25 minutes. Wow. That’s because I was walking. But I was still beat.
On Sunday, I tried a little harder though. I new the route, and I wanted to beat Friday’s time. And I did. I mean, distance. The Couch to 5K program keeps the time the same and the program the same for the week. So I wanted to cover more distance in the same time. Oh boy did I.
Anyway, back to how I was feeling “without hope.” Hopeless.
I was up. I knew  I had to run (I have a calendar printed with the info). I knew I had a distance to beat.
But still… wasn’t it more important to clean out my ears? I really just did not want to run. I wanted to go back to bed.
I didn’t think I could do it, so instead of trying, I wanted to “quit while I was ahead.” No trying, no failure, right?
Wrong. Not trying is the failure.
Hope doesn’t just come out of nowhere, anyway. I can’t just wake up and… hope (for lack of a better word) that (more) hope floats out of the air and falls on me.
Hope comes from faith. In my run, it’s faith in myself. Without faith, without hope.
In Catholicism, without faith, without hope. Meaning, if we don’t believe, we won’t have hope for our lives. We can’t see the positive, the silver lining, the end point.
We are just without hope.
I ran. And afterwards, I felt so great. I beat the distance again, and I’m starting to get used to sidewalk under my feet instead of the treadmill.
I’ve also been running without any music. And it’s wonderful.
When I run in the afternoons, there is the sound of kids playing.
In the mornings, it’s the birds chirping and some dogs out for a morning stroll.
I got to see squirrels acting crazy… it’s probably that time of the year for them. Mating and such, right?
I digress.
My point is that hope begins with faith. Faith that Christ won’t lead us to anything we can’t handle. Faith that we’ll get through it.
That’s what hope is: the faith that we’ll get through it together with Christ.
I talk to myself (out loud) when I run. It used to be (still is) really embarrassing. But that’s just how I work. That’s how I sort things out and plan for a day, week, life.
Talking to myself is part of who I am. I’m trying to deal with that, as embarrassing as it is.
Sometimes, I pray that my guardian angel could talk back to me.
I know s/he’s there, running (flying?) next to me. Praying for me, probably, unceasingly.
Thank God for that, but sometimes, I just want to talk to him/her. You know, bounce a couple questions off him/her.
Instead, I just know that s/he’s there. And I know that Christ is there, and that everything will work out.
With hope, with faith, and with tribulations.
God bless.

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