I decided to go on a run today, something I don't think I've done since... Memorial Day last year? Of course, I thought it would be a good idea to do an uphill run. As my legs were giving out, my heart bouncing out of my skin, and my face forming all kinds of bizarre expressions, I remember the words that I have been telling people all year, that I remember so vividly from last summer, and that I heard God saying to me at that moment, "How do you expect me to fill you when you're not empty?" Yeah, I was just running and we're talking about literal energy here, but isn't it the same thing? How can God fill is up with Himself when we're not emptied? Sure, we can pour out half ourselves and let God fill the other half, but then we're just mixing God juice with nasty human toxins. Instead, wouldn't it be a better idea to empty ourselves completely and let ourselves be filled completely with God?? How much better would that be? It would be the best way of cleansing your body ever! Forget asparagus or artichoke... or whatever foods they tell you to eat to detox your body; let's have God detox our bodies!
Anyway, so I'm running and getting tired, wanting to give up. I'm almost to this spot on this hill that overlooks the bay, so I thought, well since I'm almost there, I'll just walk. Then, SHAZAM. I see this barren tree ahead of me (by the way, just refer to Kira's post, this is like part 2). At the top of this tree are two branches going off in opposite directions. Of course, there's the cross laid out right before me. Christ is waiting for me. Are you going to run to me, Josh? Or are you going to walk to me? Do you want me to fill you up because you are so drained or do you want me to just sprinkle a little bit of myself on top of your Josh milkshake that you have made for yourself? I want ALL OF YOU, Lord. ALL OF YOU to fill me up ALL THE WAY. I saw myself sprinting up this steep incline to make it to the foot of the cross. I get to the top of the hill, out of breath, tired. I sit down, pull out the Bible and open to Joshua (not because I'm stuck up and want to read about myself). I read over Joshua 1:9 - Be strong and courageous...the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. I sit there and think about that. He is with me wherever I go.
Then I come home and read the devotional. "The fullness of your creator is not something you acquire. It is freely and extravagantly given. What lacks is the discipline and resolve to commune intimately with the creator's abundance." Discipline. What does that even mean? Yeah, sure, disciple can mean be running and striving to reach a certain goal. What is that goal? Yeah, the goal is reaching the cross, finding Christ, having him fill me up because I have realized that he is the bread of life and he gives me life. But, why am I running? Am I scared of something? "Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified, do not be discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go." No, I'm not scared. I'm joyful. I'm getting thirsty and tired... yet I'm joyful? I realized that I was not just running with the Lord, but for the Lord. To reach the Lord and to have others reach the Lord. This year I have more RJW sponsors than I have had in the past. I continued to think about this joy - this joy in exhaustion. This joy in pain. This joy in thirst. Others need to experience that joy! Why should I experience this and others not? I realized that I was running for discipline. The more I run, the more I trust, the more joy that others can experience.
We hear throughout the summer at Sonshine that we don't want to get to the end and feel like there was more we could give. Give everything. Well, I don't want to get to the end of the RJW thinking there was more I could give, more campers I could have helped find joy in the Lord just as I was blessed to have been given the opportunity to do so 9 years ago! Because a Sonshine staff member raised money to help me go to camp, to experience love, and to experience the joy of the Lord!