I am so excited to share my story with you today- a miracle of God!
Several years ago I was training for a race in Atlanta, the famed Peachtree Road Race that draws over 50,000 runners from all over the U.S. every July 4th. My husband had been running the race for years, but this was to be my third attempt doing the course. I say “attempt” because although I ran it without any problem the first time around, the second year of running the Peachtree was more of a challenge. I walked one or two miles out of the 6.2- mile course. I just wasn’t prepared. I was disappointed but determined to “get back into the race” and give it another try. I purposed to train better in the months leading up to the next year’s event.
I remember getting into a regular running routine at the end of the winter, but by early spring, I became aware of a nagging pain in my lower right leg while I trained. I was able to walk and move about without any issue, but when I ran, I felt a shot of pain with each pounding step. I shared my struggle with my co-runners: husband, Jon and our friend, Susan. They both counseled me to consider getting an x-ray and perhaps change to a low-impact cardio workout to prepare for race day. In my heart, I knew that I needed to continue on the path of training that I had begun. I did not realize it at that moment, but I was running a race of faith. I was being bombarded by thoughts of injury and failure every time that I went out to run. I heard the word, “stupid” spoken in my thoughts numerous times. I kept going.
Later that spring, Jon and I attended an Andrew Womack teaching seminar. He is an evangelist that we watch on television, and we knew that we should take advantage of his coming all the way to Virginia from Colorado. He preached a powerful message and then ended the night with a time of prayer ministry. Healings were taking place all around me, and I watched and rejoiced in the love of God being demonstrated in His power to heal. Then it occurred to me: I need a healing miracle! I went forward and met a woman named Rosemary and told her that although my pain is not present at that moment, it is persistent when I train for the upcoming race. I wouldn’t even be able to give her a result of our praying in agreement together, but I would definitely know the next day while out on a run. She prayed in the Spirit for a bit and then shared with me what God revealed to her: I am in fear. It was truth. I had a great fear that every tormenting thought in my head would come true if I continued on this path of believing God for healing while I was actually making the matter worse. She then spoke over my anatomy and the specific components in my leg and declared peace in the Name of Jesus.
Jon and I returned home that night, and the next day, I wanted to realize an instant miracle in my body. I believed that I would run and be pain-free, but that was not the case. The pain was still there. What did change, however, was my mindset. This is where I need you to pay attention closely. Everything happens in proportion to our faith. I simply make an agreement with God upon the finished work of Christ. He is risen and victorious over everything, including hell, death and the grave! Can I get an “Amen?” My Bible states that I have been raised up and seated next to Him in heavenly places, so I deem to claim every part of my inheritance in Jesus.
Back to the story! My mindset changed. I trained for the next two months in pain but all the while I was declaring, “Devil, you are a liar, and my Jesus is my healer!” I said it a dozen times over the course of one run. I shouted it; I pumped my arms in the air demanding that the thief hear me declare what I now believe to be true!! Can I get another “Amen?” I could not be dissuaded! I made up my mind to believe for God’s best for my life! Friend, I want you to take this testimony into your heart! Your mind is powerful when it gets ahold of truth and your heart and will make a decision to act upon it. The Spirit of God within you rises up triumphant in every circumstance you face.
As I look back on that season of testing and refining of my faith, I see now that I was much like the Israelites who dealt with an infestation of venomous snakes in the camp during the time of the exodus. Anyone who suffered a snake bite had only to look at the bronze snake that Moses crafted and put up on a pole, and he or she miraculously would live (Numbers 21:4-9). I too had a snake biting at my heel every time I ran. The devil never manifested himself as an actual serpent, but he spoke venomous lies against my God non-stop, and the pain in my ankle area felt like the strike of his fangs. Yes, he may have gotten close enough to cause me to suffer a snake bite, but I was not going to go down. I fixed by gaze upon Jesus, the author and perfecter of my faith, and I ran!
Exactly three days before the race, I went on my last run before making the trip to Atlanta. I had no pain! It was too good to be true! After four months of running with pain, now there was none! I was amazed but I still held my breath until race day. I ran the hilly, 6.2 Peachtree course and still experienced no pain! My God was showing off!
Later that day my husband and I were getting ready for a cook-out with friends and I processed my faith journey with him. I remember asking him, “What was that? Why did I have to experience something on-going like that and all because of a road race? I’m not a serious competitor; I’m just here to have fun. What was that all about?” Jon didn’t have an answer for me, but the Holy Spirit spoke! The enemy had a path of destruction for me that started with discouragement. If he could derail me from this race, he could gain a foothold into greater levels of disappointment in my life. When it came right down to it, that snake bite and that victorious run through the streets of Atlanta were all about my faith.
These have come so that your faith- of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire- may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed (1Peter 1:7).