Around daybreak on Monday morning I was nearing the end of my daily run at Elkin Park, when an incident I always dread occurred. The running trail is covered with rock dust which contains small grains that can often get in your shoes. From time to time some of the grains of rock dust have gotten in my shoes requiring me to stop and shake them out.
Monday, with only about three minutes to go in my 45 minute run, a rock grain found its way into my shoe and got underneath my heel. Though only about the size of a pin head, it shot pain into my heel each time my foot struck the ground. Almost finished I didn’t want to stop to remove it from my shoe, so I altered my foot plant and favored the other leg a bit so the rock grain wouldn’t prick my heel with each step. I finished the run with a “hitch in my get-a-long.” If someone had seen me finishing the run it would have appeared to them as if I was running with a limp. Soon as I stopped I removed the rock grain and all was back to normal.
Thinking about the incident, I wonder how many times “spiritual rock grains” have made their way into our spiritual lives causing us to run the Christian race with a spiritual limp. The author of Hebrews warns us in our relationship with the Lord to be wise to watch out for those “rock grains” which can hinder us in our spiritual journey (Hebrews 12:1). We must not ignore them when they enter our lives or simply adjust our walk to accommodate them. The inspired writer goes on to advise us, “And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way, but let it rather be healed” (Heb. 12:13). We must pray for a sensitive spirit that our “spiritual heels” will detect when spiritual irritants seek to interject themselves into our lives.
The story is told of the eloquent British preacher Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892), who could be seen daily walking the London streets. On one occasion, as he was walking across a less than busy city thoroughfare, he suddenly stopped in the middle of the street and was seen bowing his head. Upon completion of his silent prayer, as he made his way to the other side, someone asked him why he stopped in the middle of the street to pray. Spurgeon’s reply was, “A cloud briefly came over my soul in my communion with the Lord and I didn’t want to continue until it was lifted.” You might say he had stopped to remove an irritant that if neglected could have resulted in developing a spiritual limp in his walk with the Lord.
How about you and I? Are there “spiritual rock grains” seeking to intrude under our spiritual heels seeking to cause a spiritual limp to develop in our walk with Lord? Is it a trial, a temptation, a testing, a wrong relationship, a secret sin, or a “tiny” trouble that has sought to alter our walk with Him? Let us not adjust our walk to accommodate spiritual irritants, but quickly remove them so as not to hinder our relationship with Him.
Turning to Hebrews again for encouragement, let us keep “looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith” (Heb. 12:2). As we keep our eyes on Him we can finish our Christian race in victory without a trace of a limp.