They replied at once, "Yes, let’s rebuild the wall!" So they began the good work. –Nehemiah 2:18
Most of you know that I enjoy running. Those of you have been around for a while know that I have struggled with injuries this year. It hasn’t been fun. Ice, Advil, stretching, strengthening and rest have become part of my daily routine. I looked back in my journal and here is a brief history:
March 31st – Decided not to run the Boston Marathon on April 20th. Since I can’t walk up or down the stairs without the help of the railing, I don’t think my chances of running up and down hills for 26.2 miles are going to work out for me.
April 15th – Haven’t run in two weeks. My lower abs and adductor muscles hurt when I am sleeping and really hurt at all other times.
May 23rd – Ran slow this morning. Legs hurt, but at least I am running.
July 12th – Haven’t run in nine days. I am actually starting to walk like a normal person.
July 26th – Ran 8 miles at Platte River State Park. Not back to normal, but getting there.
August 17th – Ran 18 miles at Zorinsky. I’ve come a long way in five months. I’ve hurt a lot, learned a lot, gained some patience, and experienced healing. I think I’m better.
Life is a lot like running. Healing is often a process. Soteria is the Greek word that translates as salvation. It carries a rich meaning: to heal, to recover, to make whole. Soteria occurs 45 times in the New Testament, and is strongly associated with Jesus—the Savior (in Greek: soter) who led a ministry of healing while he walked on the earth. Jesus said to the twelve: “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons.” –Matthew 10:8
Jesus is interested in our wellness. For broken relationships that have ended, he desires that we will one day trust again and experience peace. For broken relationships that haven’t ended, he desires reconciliation and forgiveness. For those who are physically hurting, he desires wellness. For those who face the burden of addictions, he desires freedom. For those with self-destructive behaviors who continue to make poor decisions, he desires wisdom and hope. For those who are searching for more in life, he desires contentment and fulfillment.
Soteria is often a process. It takes time. It takes the perseverance to believe that tomorrow can be better than today. It takes faith to believe that God can make good and is at work in your current situation—no matter how messy or bleak the situation is.
On November 22nd I believe I will finish the Philadelphia Marathon. It will have been a long recovery from those mornings early in the year when I was taking one slow step at a time down the stairs. I believe that you will cross the finish line of your marathon as well—whatever it may be. Your wall will be rebuilt. You will experience soteria.