The People News, a free newspaper serving Cleveland Tennessee (TN) and Bradley County Tennessee (Tn).

Of Bradley County Tn.

AUGUST  2011






A Matter Of Faith

Keep Running

by Joel Lawler

Today I flew into Boston for work. I got in my rental car and immediately got lost. My boss will enjoy my explanation of why I have multiple tolls on the same highway from opposite directions.

Once I got to my hotel and did some work, I needed a break. I put my running clothes on and headed to the hotel fitness center. The equipment was state of the art about 25 years ago. It could be a museum for gym equipment. I almost posted a placard "The Treadmill John Adams Used to Burn off the Calories from his Cousin Sam's beer."

I decided that I would hit the road and run outside instead.

Two wrongs do not make a right but three lefts do - or so I thought.

I started running. Went for a while and took a left. Ran down that street for a while and then took another left. Well, it dawned on me that I was getting further from my hotel. I thought I would loop around and be back where I started. Something went wrong with my concept.

I finally had to stop and ask a gentleman who was working on his lawn for directions. All I had on me was my room key (the kind without the built in GPS). I explained my situation. In his thick Boston accent he began to tell me "Get on highway 93." I interrupted him to inform him the situation was a little more dire.  I was out running and did not have a car.

He stopped. Looked at me for few seconds and smiled. The fact that I do not have a Boston accent clued him in even further as to how really incredibly lost I was.

He looked down the road and said "Run that way. When you get into town the road splits three ways.  Take the middle one and keep running."

I thanked him and took off.

After what seemed like many miles, I hit the end of the road. At least a road I could run on. It became a highway. I turned around and headed back towards the town. I saw another man walking his dog. I asked him for directions. He was equally amused at my predicament. He gave very specific directions and then added, "You have a very long way to go."  I also had limited daylight left.

I must admit that there were several moments of fear. I was in the middle of Massachusetts with nothing but a hotel room key.

God was with me. He kept me safe. I also know that my error in judgment did not surprise him. He knew what I was going to do before I did it. He did not slap his forehead and say, "Joel - REALLY? You are lost AGAIN?"

I followed the second Bostonian's directions and eventually made it back to my hotel.

God loves me and knows me better than I know myself. I am so grateful for his grace. When I get lost, he is ever patient with me. When I foolishly run off with no idea where I am going, he stays with me. He guides my steps.

His love has nothing to do with my success or staying on course. He loves me when I am at my worst. He loves me when I do boneheaded things like getting lost twice in one day. His love is complete and nothing I do can earn or lose it.

I don't think God has a Boston accent. I have heard from him when I pray saying, "I have no idea where I am going." He says, "I am with you and for you. I will not ever forsake you. Keep Running."


Joel Lawler