Having experienced knee and hip pain since my half marathon, I knew I probably needed to get new running shoes. I could feel the pain radiating up my leg. But being a person of (very) modest income at the moment, running shoes seemed too much of an extravagance. The only option, it seemed, was to run the 12K (7 miles) I had committed to on Saturday, and give up running for now.
Last night was to be my last training run before the race. I knew that it was going to be a challenge, as the pain is worsening. I reached for one of my running shirts, but instead my hand went to a colorful pink t-shirt. It says “Team Freedom 13.1” on the front, and has a scripture from Hebrews on the back – “Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”. The shirt was given to our team before the Disney Princess by Natalie Grant, founder of Abolition International. It’s a pretty shirt, and one which starts conversations. But I don’t usually actually run in it. However I felt compelled to wear it, feeling a bit foolish at my mind’s insistence pertaining to my wardrobe. I run at night. No one can see the shirt. My practice runs raise no money, no awareness. It’s just me and Jesus.
I went out to run and felt the familiar pangs up my leg and into my hip. But tonight I felt the shirt on my back. I felt the hearts and prayers of 27 million victims of the slave trade across our globe. I felt a solidarity with them I cannot effectively explain in words. It was obvious the God was imparting something to me, and I began to pray and intercede as I ran. With every step, I was more and more aware that my pain was nothing compared to the suffering of these precious souls. Every step moved me closer to them, in the Spirit. It was tangible.
So I asked God what He was doing. “Lord”, I said “I am not actually doing anything to help them. There is no crowd noticing my cause, there is no money being raised…what good am I doing out here by myself?”
The answer hit my spirit with such clarity it was overwhelming. Tears streaming down my face, I listened to the voice softly speaking to my heart.
“The currency of the Kingdom is not like yours. Every time you offer a prayer, you pay for a released heart. Every time you run another mile in honor of them, I can exchange that for a life saved. Every time you remember them, I use your love and concern as currency. Your prayers and your heart are the currency my Kingdom runs on. Any gift you bring from your heart, I can exchange for something tangible in the earth.”
We often think that we can do so little. We think if we do not have money, we are useless to help a cause. But God was so clear last night. God is not limited by lack of money. He desires our hearts. Our concern. Our love. Those things are priceless in the Kingdom.
The currency of the Kingdom is love. And in that, anyone can become rich.
I reached the end of my 3 mile course, and I began to slow to a walk. But with this newly imparted knowledge, I knew I wanted to do more. If my sacrifice could be exchanged for a life saved, I needed to run more. So I turned around to run another mile. As I broke into a run, there was a huge lightning flash in the sky above me. The voice that rang through my head told me something amazing. That is between me and the Lord.
But I assure you it was the easiest mile I have ever run. What a small price to pay.