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Keith Wishum: Running in the dark

Several years ago, I was trying to get back in the habit of running every day. Note that I didn’t say, “jogging.” I like to use the word “running” because it sounds faster. Truth is, I probably should use the word “crawling,” especially after what happened the first week.

Before the sun was up, I was cruising swift and smooth down Lee Street like a high-powered jet. OK, so maybe I was more like a tank rumbling along, but at least I was up and moving. For a little while anyway.

I was just getting into my groove (Call it a rut if you must!), when, suddenly, the sidewalk rushed up at my face. My jet was crashing! I managed to get some landing gear down, so that just my arm and leg got scraped (and I can cover those up) and not my face.

What happened? I would love to tell you that I was going too fast, but that wouldn’t fly. I would prefer to say I was pushed, but nobody else was around. (Fortunately, there were no witnesses to my rather ungraceful landing).

The truth is: I tripped. A paving stone jutted up slightly. I stubbed my toe on it, and down I went. It’s not that I’m clumsy. The problem was that I was running in the dark. Where no streetlight illuminates the sidewalk, I simply could not see the danger lurking at my feet. And I paid the price for it.

We may run through life in the dark, too. And that also often brings us pain and embarrassment. It doesn’t have to be that way. Someone offers to light our way.

Long ago, David wrote a song in which he describes the guidance God offers us. “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path,” he says (Psalm 119:105). In other words, his word is designed to keep us from stumbling and falling, if we will use the light.

Your Father wants what is best for you. He provides guidelines to keep you from getting hurt, or from hurting others. If you are looking for a good daily habit to get into, why not try the daily habit of reading your Bible. You may be surprised what good shape you can get your life into that way.

Just don’t try jogging and reading your Bible at the same time. Sidewalks are hard.

Keith Wishum is minister, Williams Road Church, Americus.