The usual residents were out in full force: the deer, the wild turkey, even the raccoon that guards one of the trails I run on. One of the park rangers came up and talked to me as I secured my mittens and hat. Otherwise, I had the park all to myself for a two hour run.
I know the trails at the park like the back of my hand. Most Mondays it is where I run. The snow made it both challenging and fun. On some of the uphill climbs, even with my trail running shoes on, I struggled to gain traction. On some of the steeper, longer downhills, I was part sledder and part trail runner. One time I was even part prayer. The flat sections were business as usual—just a little slower and a little more cushion from the snow.
Two enemies for the trail runner are tree roots and rocks. A sprained ankle on a cold day on an isolated trail accessible only by foot in an empty park would not be a good thing.
The trail looked so inviting. It was so tempting to run fast down the hills. It was tempting to look around and enjoy the scenery. But the trail runner in me knew that my eye had to stay on the trail and I had to always stay under control. The snow covered the rocks and tree roots. Something enticing was also something dangerous.
I watched the trail for small undulations that I knew might be a tree root or a rock. I walked through a few rocky sections of the trail. I got off my feet and slid down a few of the downhills that I knew I probably couldn’t navigate if I was running. I covered only about eighty percent of the distance I usually cover in two hours, but I made it back to my car.
And so it is with sin. It can be hidden. It can be enticing. It can even seem like a good idea at the time.
It is also dangerous. It separates us from God. It separates us from others.
Sin can turn the scared into the shameful, the beautiful into the belligerent, and the holy into hell on earth.
Sometimes in the short-term, sin may seem like a pretty good idea. In the long-term, sin is never a good idea. No exceptions exist to this rule. None.
Watch out for the tree roots and the rocks of life – they are out there all over the place trying to steal from us the very life that God gives us.