A few years back I elected to run a 5K. Those who know me might be surprised by this. You might actually be wondering if I'd lost a bet or sold my soul to the devil. But the race was my choice. No one forced me. And I've regretted it ever since!
I prepared for the race by downloading the famous "Couch Potato to 5K" app for my phone. I followed the instructions and worked the program. On race day, as I donned my jersey and put in my earbuds to listen to my 5K play list (all 15 songs because I run a 15 minute K...Don't judge me), I was nervous but confident.
As the gun went off and all the runners pushed their way into the course, I did my best to keep up. Unfortunately, I got thirsty pretty early in the race, which slowed me down. I don't think they put water stations near enough to the starting line. Just saying.
Somewhere in the middle of the race, people started passing me, and I was fine with that. There are skinny, faster people in the world and I accept that truth. But then a couple, each pushing strollers with babies in them, galloped past me, I just couldn't handle that truth. I determined to keep up with this pair of yuppies and their fancy-dancey strollers.
As the five of us crossed the finish line, I realized that I wasn't fully prepared for the pace established by the loving couple and their infants on wheels. My knees hurt. My lungs were slowly collapsing. And I was still looking for that darn water station. Thankfully, my loving wife, who had finished the race long before me, was patient enough to wait for me as I crossed the finish line. Of course, she'd had time to visit the gift shop and get her hair done so she looked amazing.
For those who are wondering WHAT does this have to do with Lent? I'm getting there about the same speed that I got to the finish line of that race!
For the next 40 days (excluding Sundays), we are in the Season of Lent. It is a season of preparation, of focused attention to God's most loving act of all time. It is a season when we ready ourselves for something that is life-changing, life-giving. The journey to the cross, the road to the grave and ultimately to the resurrection is one that must never be taken lightly. It is a trail that offers hope but also requires attention. It demands focus. It calls for commitment. We certainly should not enter into the journey without the proper preparation. We might regret it.