Tag Archives: run

Running Away with Jonah

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A you familiar with the story of Jonah? Jonah is a short book (four chapters) in the Old Testament in the Bible. It tells the story of Jonah in the days when Nineveh was a scourge upon the earth. Nineveh was the capitol city of Assyria, and they weren’t treating the Jews rightly.

Jonah was a prophet of God, and he was pretty used to hearing His voice. One day, however, God spoke to him to give him a message that he didn’t want to hear. God wanted Jonah to go to the city of Nineveh to tell the people to repent. God wanted them to repent so He could forgive them.

Jonah hated the Assyrians and despised the people of Nineveh. He couldn’t believe God would even consider forgiving a people so evil as they. Jonah was upset. He was willing to give God’s messages to the people of Israel, but he wanted nothing to do with these Ninevites.

He decided that what God had asked of him was too much. He would go just so far for God but no further.

So Jonah ran. He got in a ship sailing for Tarshish in the opposite direction from Nineveh. He figured he could run from God, but God is omniscient and omni-present, so it wasn’t a successful venture.

Out on the sea God caused a violent storm to come upon the ship. The sailors tried to figure out who was responsible for this unnatural storm, and the lot fell upon Jonah. Jonah confessed to his running from God and told them that in order to stop the storm they had to throw him overboard. Jonah knew that being thrown overboard into the ocean would mean certain death for him.

The sailors reluctantly agreed and threw him overboard. Immediately the sea calmed down. As Jonah sank deep into the sea a giant fish swallowed him. Jonah knew he had messed up royally. God had shown him the way to go, and he had not been willing. So, in the belly of the fish, Jonah prayed.

After three days God caused the fish to spit Jonah out on the shore. Then, God called Jonah once again to go to Nineveh. This time Jonah went, although he was still wishing for the demise of his enemies.

When he spoke the word of The Lord to the Ninevites they repented and prayed to God clothed in sackcloth and sitting on ashes (signs of genuine remorse). Jonah went up on a hill outside of town to watch God smite them, but He forgave them instead. Jonah became furious.

Jonah couldn’t see how the forgiveness of God is greater than our understanding. He couldn’t see the plans of God. He was filled with hatred and vengeance toward these people.

Did Jonah ever come around? Read the book and find out.

Lets look at ourselves in the meantime. There have been many times I’ve heard people say that they know God wants them to do this or that, but…

When we know what God’s will for us is, and we reject that will, then He is no longer the King of our lives. We have dethroned God and placed ourselves on that throne. We are very much like Jonah.

The may be decisions you are called to make in life. Will you make them? There are moral choices you are called to make. Will you make them?

We live in an age where the people in most churches live lives very similar to that of the world. When confronted with a direct command from scripture, it is not uncommon for them to say “yes, I know, but…” Is that what God wants of us? No!

The Hebrew writer tells us that if we know the good we should do, and we don’t do it, we sin. Paul tells us in Romans 6 that we are to quit sinning on purpose expecting grace to cover us. Does grace cover us? Yes! But should we abuse that privilege? No!

You are called to live a life like Christ. When faced with the hardest time of his life – the crucifixion – he didn’t tell God he wasn’t willing to go through it. He loves you too much to go against God’s will for him, though we know he really struggled with the pain that was to come.

Look at your life. Find the areas where your life doesn’t match up with the life God has called you to live. Pray to God for help in changing direction. And find people you can surround yourself with that will help you along the way. You don’t have to live like the world. Your witness will be much more effective when you make this change.

May you stop giving God ultimatums. May you follow Him with wild abandon. And may the world watch as you live in joy and peace from knowing God’s love and grace all the more.

If there’s anything I can do for you, or if you would like to comment on this article, then please feel free to shoot me a message at http://www.mrdobbs.org. Blessings to you as you follow Him.

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Confessions of a Tough Mudder

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“I will not whine. Kids whine.”

This phrase kept going through my head as I endured the 12 mile, 29 obstacle course in Edna, TX last Saturday.

On Saturday, January 28. 2012, I competed in what is considered “the toughest event on the planet” – Tough Mudder. My experience actually began on Friday as my brother, my son, and I met up with a friend at Brackenridge Park outside of Edna to camp out for the night. The evening was relatively peaceful sitting around the fire mentally prepping for the next day. The challenges began for me at midnight, however, as parties around us began to be increasingly louder. I couldn’t fall back to sleep until after 1:30 am. I was frustrated and tired. “Didn’t they have to get up early and compete too?”

The next morning I woke up around 6 am. I couldn’t sleep, so I walked out to the edge of the lake and watched the sun rise in all it’s magnificence. There’s an old saying: Red sky at night, sailor’s delight. Red sky at morning, sailor’s warning.” Saturday morning’s sunrise was red, and the wind was already starting to pick up speed to its projected 20 mph. It was going to be windy for sure!

We got over to the check-in tents at 8:30, and before I was really mentally ready we were being called to go to the starting line. We were the 10 o’clock group. To even get to the starting line we had to surmount an 8′ wall. It was time to gear up and shut up.

We recited the Tough Mudder pledge amid a barrage of “Hoo-Rah”. Then, there it was, the phrase that stuck with me the rest of the day: “I do not whine. Kids whine”. This would be my mantra for the rest of the day.

The whistle finally blew and we were off. The very first obstacle was a mere 50 yards from the starting line. We had to drop to our bellies and crawl under barbed wire through thick South Texas mud. It had begun. Within the first mile we crawled through mud, climbed over muddy eight foot high walls, jumped off a 15 foot high platform into the lake, and plunged into the frigid waters of “arctic enema” – a box car with ice water. My body was in shock, but I was determined.

We crawled through tunnels, scrambled over mud hills, and ran, a lot. I was prepared for this mentally. Then it happened – we came to an obstacle that wasn’t on our pre-race map. Apparently unbeknownst to us they had to substitute obstacles in place of the hay or fire obstacles. What we had come to was jumping over mud holes increasingly wider with the hopes that we wouldn’t slip or miss our mark. Success!

Then we ran over to a cargo net and climbed over. Then we ran some more.

There were obstacles on this course that weren’t official obstacles. We were constantly watching out for the holes in the ground created by this year’s drought. It would be very easy for someone to twist or even break an ankle by stepping into one of them. There was also a place where we had to drop down a steep embankment into water filled with reeds and grasses. When we got in there we realized that we couldn’t touch bottom. We had to swim, but we made it and scrambled up the muddy bank on the other side helping each other out.

We crawled over and under logs. One time I stumbled upon trying to stand back up after going under a log pile. When I tried to steady myself by holding onto the log I had just gone under I impaled my thumb with two barbs from the barbed wire that was there to hinder going over that log. Blood had been drawn – I was already a tough mudder.

My brother and I spent much of our childhood in the woods exploring every nook and cranny as we blazed our own trails. We climbed everything we could find. When we got to these obstacles we realized that our childhood had develop many of the skills needed to complete the course easier than many of the other people. When it came time to balance or hang upside down we were in our natural element. Navigating through fallen trees would have been a normal afternoon walk for us growing up, but here it was as an obstacle! Sure, we were exhausted, but it was fun!

Our muscles were cramping, but we endured. It was absolutely wonderful to have my brother and my wife running this course alongside me. Their encouragement made this possible. We fed off each other’s enthusiasm to complete each obstacle.

We finally got to the last mile with five obstacles to go. The first was the monkey bars. The rungs were muddy, slippery, and they spun. When I realized that they would spin I put my feet in the rungs and crawled upside down across the span. Success! I wasn’t wet! In my mind I thought I might dry out before the final obstacle, but that dream was short lived. We then had to swim out into the lake and go under a series of barrels. Then we had to swim to the other side. Once on the other side my fears were met. My daughter alerted us to the fact that we would not have to go through one electric obstacle, but two.

After swimming we came to a wooden framework with yellow wires hanging down. This was all a few inches off the ground. The ground was covered with the slush of melting ice. We had to belly-crawl under the wires on the ice. I didn’t want to do it, but this wasn’t called the tough quitter. The first wire shocked me. It felt like someone hit me in the lower back with a hammer. I don’t remember the second hit. All I remember is waking up face down in the mud after a split second. I had blacked out. When I finally realized where I was, I knew I had to get out of there fast. I got hit two more times before crawling out through the mound of ice.

I stood up and gave a primal scream.

Next up was the obstacle called Everest. We had to run up a quarter pipe that was about 15 feet tall. Those who had gone before us were on top waiting to grab the hand of those coming below. My brother had made it before me, so when I attempted it was his hand that grabbed mine. I made it up first try, but only with the help of my brother and my neighbor.

This was it. One more obstacle, and it was the one that struck the most fear in me. There was a framework with hundreds of yellow wires hanging down. Some of them had 10,000 volts flowing through them. We watched as one man went through and got hit with the juice. It dropped him to his face. He tried to get up but couldn’t move his legs. Eventually he pulled himself out with his hands. This was not a good sign.

My wife went first, and God blessed her with a good breeze that caused all the wires to float up just above her back. She didn’t get hit even once. I then ran through, and God decided I didn’t need such a breeze. About halfway through I got hit. It wouldn’t have knocked me down on normal ground, but they were hosing the ground as we were running through and I slipped onto my belly. That was actually a relief. I crawled through to the other side.

Success!

I had completed every single obstacle they threw at me. My wife and I and our four friends jogged together to the finish line, and my wife and I finished this course the same way we had finished the marathon we did together seven years before – holding hands.

We were exhausted and shivering from hypothermia; we were sunburned and sore, but we had overcome! 4 hours, 12 miles, and 29 obstacles had not been enough to take us out. We were tough mudders! Hoo -Rah!

Would I do it again? Yes. It was a feat of athleticism, but it wasn’t something that is beyond the grasp of any normal person. I saw people of all ages and genders and races competing. Two of the competitors that day had only one leg. One guy lost his shoe in the water on the third obstacle and ran the rest of the course barefoot. By doing this, however, I have gained so much in my mind. I have built friendships through this common experience that I would have never had. I got to share this with my wife and brother – both of whom I love dearly. This event was totally worth it.

I cannot describe to you the ins and outs of why it was worth it. All I can say is that I will do it again, and I think you can do it too.

If you want to see pictures of our trip through the muck and mire check me out on Facebook.com/mrjdobbs. I am a Tough Mudder!


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