An Extra Mile
I was going to go on a walk yesterday, but I decided to run two miles to the park and then walk back. It had been a long week full of family tragedy, family joy, a huge deadline, and a broken laptop. I was exhausted, and while I pressed on in the Spirit, I was fully aware of my physical limitations. My body was not the same body it was a decade ago; it noticed the impact of long weeks more than it used to notice. As I was running, I thought about how one year ago, I applied for an Army scholarship. My goal was to get accepted in the Army, receive the scholarship that would pay me $2,000 a month while I was in school, guarantee me a great internship spot at one of the 5 major Army hospitals, and give me the rank of a captain. It was a perfect solution. My family would be done struggling financially; all Jacob’s cochlear implant and/or retinitis appointments would be covered. Sure, I would be deployed, but they would be fine. My family would be set financially; it would be worth the price I would pay (even if it meant my life). So, I was determined to join. I thought about how I ran this course in preparation for joining the Army just 1 year ago. I smiled at myself, realizing that human plans and human ideas don’t always line up with God’s plans. I was put on the “wait-list” for the scholarship. The recruiter I was working with retired, and the new recruiter never called me back. At the same time, God gave me the Warrior Mom ministry. I wrote The Warrior Mom Handbook, and God sent an amazing team of warriors to build a foundation of faith that would spread a message of hope to many captives (Isaiah 61). I was in the Army alright, but it was a different Army; it was God’s Warrior Mom Army full of devoted Moms wearing pink camo, and He asked me to lead them (through His direction, of course.) I was humbly honored. The US Army didn’t want me, but God did!
As I approached the second mile of the run, I thought about how it is still essential that I continue to train so that my strength and endurance are maintained and strengthened. Even soldiers in the Army continue to do P.T. (Physical Training) every morning at 0600 because it’s essential that they remain in shape so that they are prepared for battle. As I reached the park, I raised my arms up in the air. “Victory! I made it!”As I walked up the hill (.5 of a mile), I passed a teenage boy. I said hello and he said hello. As I got to the top of the hill, I noticed a high school student identification card on the ground. The picture of the boy on the card looked like the boy I had passed on the hill. “I bet this is his card,” I thought to myself. “Well, I’ll just give it to one of the Warrior Moms that I know; she can have her daughter bring it to the main office of the school on Monday; besides, I’m exhausted. I just ran 2 miles, and I was on my way back home.” I was reminded that it was Friday. Tonight was the first night of high school football games. The boy would need this to get into the game. And besides, not bringing him the card would just equate to laziness on my part. I turned around and looked down the hill. I didn’t see him. He was long gone. Just then, I noticed him. He was across the street, walking up the long drive to the Collins Hill Aquatic Center. I would have to run really fast to catch him. I started sprinting. When I got to the bottom of the hill, he was disappearing behind some trees on another hill. “Hey! Are you Terrance?!” I yelled. He turned around and even though he was probably .3 miles away, I saw his eyebrows crinkle together like he was looking at a woman who had gone mad. “What?” he yelled. “Are you Terrance?” I said again as I waved his I.D. card in the air. It was then that he realized that I had his I.D. card; he turned and began walking towards me. I continued on in my jog until I met him. “You’ll need this to get into the game tonight,” I said as I handed it to him. “I don’t know how I dropped this,” He said. He turned and left, and I turned and headed towards the .5 hill again. I realized that this would equate to an extra mile for me today.
Just then, God impressed upon me an amazing truth. Maintaining spiritual endurance (and physical) is essential, yes, so that we are physically and mentally fit enough to endure battles, but one of the main reasons we must maintain and continue to strengthen ourselves mentally, physically, and spiritually is so that we have the strength and endurance to go the extra mile for someone else when duty calls. You see, God needs trained, well fed (in His Word), physically fit, mentally alert, and spiritually seasoned soldiers so that He can send us out to help others. Sometimes, we are sent out to catch up to someone who journeyed too far ahead of the pack, forgetting essential tools such as the Armor of God and the fruit of the Spirit. Many times, they need someone to show up, help equip them, and bring them back to the Home Base of faith, hope, and encouragement. Additionally, sometimes we are sent back to places we have already battled and been because a wounded soldier got left behind, and unless someone comes back to get them (on a recon rescue mission), they will die in defeat and despair. Remember the Airborne Ranger Creed? The E in RangEr stands for this:
Energetically will I meet the enemies of my country. I shall defeat them on the field of battle for I am better trained and will fight with all my might. Surrender is not a Ranger word. I will never leave fallen comrade to fall into the hands of the enemy and under no circumstances will I ever embarrass my country.
God expects the same of His Warriors. Training is an essential tool of a soldier who has tenacity running through their emotional, physical, and spiritual veins. I am reminded that the people for whom we are sent ahead or sent back for, won’t necessarily be our “friends.” More so, they will more than likely be strangers, enemies, and those whom we don’t ‘want’ to help. Train so that you can persevere through physical exhaustion and emotion. It had definitely been a long week, but I was reminded that at any given moment when I am tired and limited in the physical, I must press on through the strength and endurance found only in His Spirit.
The word, discipline, is often used in the context of “training.”
No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Hebrews 12:11
One of the many things that I love about God is that He takes an everyday moment like picking up a high school kid’s I.D. card, and provides an experiential lesson on why it’s so important to go an extra mile. It’s profound!
“If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.” Matthew 5:41
Kristina Seymour loves to encourage and equip women through the Word and through community. She is the author of The Warrior Mom Handbook, The Warrior Mom Leadership Manual, and The Warrior Wife Handbook; they are available at Amazon.com. Kristina's Bible studies are for women who desire to live by faith in the midst of their everyday lives. She has learned that women can't survive on caffeine and animal crackers alone; women in the Word and in community are united and able to stand firm. To learn more about Kristina, please visit her recently founded Share & Company Publishing House http://seymourkristina.wix.