Last Updated on February 15, 2024 by Stacy Averette

I ran a 5k last weekend. When I crossed the finish line I didn’t know my time or my average pace or where I placed overall or in my age/gender group. Honestly, those numbers didn’t matter much because I’d won a bigger prize. That’s the story I want to share with you today.

At the start of this race, there were signs (the kind you use to advertise a yard sale) stuck in the ground that suggest to participants where to line up based on how long they think it will take to run the 3.1 miles. The very first sign just says “Elite” and there’s no time listed on the sign. Elite runners will run the 3.1 miles in under 20 minutes which blows my mind! That’s fast!! Sometimes, just for fun, I want to line up with them and see the look on their face. But instead, I just keep walking and walking and walking until I’m nearly at the back of the line. I love my place at the back of the line. Really, I do. Because I’m deeply thankful to be in line, running the race at all.


Another stress fracture almost sidelined me again but I’m no stranger to injury. I began running as a teenager and I’ve been running ever since. Running has always helped me stay in shape, manage my stress, and my weight but I’ve been plagued by injuries for decades. In my teens and twenties, I had numerous knee surgeries before finally giving up competitive sports. After having my first baby boy in 1994, I was running again within a few weeks and developed my first stress fracture in my left foot. I’ve been battling stress fractures in that foot ever since.

Fast forward twenty-two years: The day before I got on a plane and flew to Africa in 2016, Eric and I ran a half-marathon in Atlanta, in June. Hilly and hot are the only two words I can think of to describe it.  I haven’t run a race since then and I haven’t done much running either. Remember what I said about running to stay in shape and manage stress? Guess what happened when I didn’t do much running for 5 years?


Back in the spring I was prayer-journaling and asking God for help and answers. Life was stressful, as usual, and I was worrying and overeating my way through it but I’ve learned to talk to God about everything no matter how insignificant it may seem.  HE CARES and I know that He has the answers I need! The Lord reminded me about my love of running and I reminded Him about my stress fractures and the extra weight I was carrying like He didn’t know or had forgotten. I ignored His reminders, kind of like you do when a reminder pops up on your phone and you swipe it away without reading it because you don’t want to be reminded. You know what I mean, don’t you?

But He’s a persistent, patient Father who pursues us even in our stubbornness. Don’t you love that?!

Eric was already well into his running routine and pre-training for what will be his 8th marathon in December. My guy loves those 26.2-mile runs! He’d also signed up to run the Woodstock 5k again. I mentioned to him that I was thinking of trying to run again and he was excited. He loves to run and he knows how much I love it and how much I’ve missed it. I started a walk/run couch to 5k plan that week. Feeling good about my progress, I signed up for the 5k. I was three weeks into my training when the familiar foot pain hit me mid-run one morning. I didn’t think I was going to make it back to the car. Eric said I needed new shoes and I knew he was right but I was very hesitant about spending a lot of money and not being able to follow through. I was disheartened, especially since I’d just signed up for the race.


Eric was hopeful and offered gentle encouragement so off we went to buy new shoes. We don’t have a lot of big-city shopping options and I’d almost given up on finding what I needed. As a last resort, I looked on Google and Gadsden Outfitters came up as an option. I didn’t even know they carried running shoes. I called the store just to see if they had what I was looking for and if they had my size. They were very helpful and I was hopeful.

Once in the store—which is amazing by the way—the young woman was very knowledgeable. She’s a runner herself, she knew a lot about the shoe brands they carry, and she knew what type of shoe would suit my stress-fracture prone foot. I spent almost an hour trying on different brands and styles and sizes before I found “the shoe”. As we left the store, Eric and I both praised God for His help finding the shoes I needed.


We were up early Saturday morning to get in our training runs. I was cautiously optimistic that new shoes would “do the trick”. The warm-up went well and I began my slow, shuffle run. I was watching my form and watching for potholes in the pavement doing my part to stay injury-free.

I was happy to be running again at 55 years old and I couldn’t help imagining myself losing weight and getting in better shape. And that’s when I had this thought:

“Jesus made the lame walk.”

Then he told John’s disciples, “Go back to John and tell him what you have seen and heard—the blind see, the lame walk, those with leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life, and the Good News is being preached to the poor.” Luke 7:22

The gentle conviction of my friend, Jesus, was a sweet interruption. Getting in shape is a good thing and new shoes are nice but I’d missed the point.

You make the lame walk, Jesus.

The prompts on my running app told me when to walk and when to run but my heart was tuned to another voice. With every step, I whispered, “You make the lame walk, Jesus.” Soon my focus had shifted from me to He.

My three-day-a-week training continued and my runs grew longer. One day I was especially tired and winded, anxiously waiting for the prompt to walk. And then I had a thought:

“Run and not be weary.”

But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31

Run and not be weary?

“But I am weary,” I thought. “My legs are tired, I’m hot, and out of breath.” My thoughts shifted again to the first part of the familiar verse. Wait on the Lord!

With every step, I whispered, “You make the lame walk, Jesus. I’m waiting on you. I’ll run and not be weary.”

A mile later I turned the corner and there was the mountain. Our small university town sits beautifully at the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains in northeast Alabama. I’ve driven to the top many times to enjoy a spectacular view of the sunset but today I had a different view from the valley. Psalm 121 came to mind.

I lift up my eyes to the hills.
From where does my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.

My help comes from you, Lord!

With every step, I whispered, “You make the lame walk, Jesus. I’m waiting on you. I’ll run and not be weary. My help comes from you, Lord!”


I finished my run that day and many more runs since holding fast to the Truth. It has made all the difference when:

  • I feel the occasional twinge of pain in my foot and my knee.
  • I feel hot and winded and weary.
  • I feel self-conscious as I pass fit young women and men on my route who seem to run effortlessly (like I used to do).
  • I remember how far I’ve yet to go in running and in life.

When I crossed the finish line last Saturday I knew I hadn’t broken any records or qualified for any awards but I knew I was holding a bigger prize—the everlasting crown of life! The Truth that had gotten me through my training and through the race as well. With every step, I whispered, “You make the lame walk, Jesus. I’m waiting on you. I’ll run and not be weary. My help comes from you, Lord!”

Friend, this was lesson was never about running a 5k. Yes, I believe it matters to God how we take care of the body He’s given us but there’s so much more at stake.

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. I Corinthians 9:24-27


I was reminded by Richard Foster this week that the promises of God are often followed by a problem before we receive the provision. Like you, I know (and claim) many of the promises in God’s Word, but it’s often through a problem that we surrender and become dependent on Him and fully appreciate His provision.

God had bigger plans than helping me run again or finish a race or get in shape. He saw my stress, stress-fracture, weight gain, and running as a way to grow my faith!

Lame: unable to walk without difficulty as the result of an injury or illness affecting the leg or foot.

I’d never thought of myself as lame but as I became unable to walk or run without difficulty I learned a deeper spiritual lesson. I was lame in another sense of the word.

lame: uninspiring and dull.

I was emotionally and spiritually lame and weary and in desperate need of God’s help but it took a problem—physical lameness—for me to realize His provision. The Holy Spirit brought to mind verses that I’ve read many times in order to speak Truth in the midst of my doubt, fear, and pain.

Friend, nothing is wasted. Nothing in your life is too mundane or ordinary for God. He wants to make His presence known and His help available to you in every part of your life if you’re willing.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, Hebrews 12:1

In this life, we will have trouble and struggles and stress and heartbreak. More than anything God wants us to become keenly aware of His presence with us in all the hard places; and He wants us to depend on His strength.

But in your time of need, you will not be able to recall what you do not know in the first place. Hide His Word in your heart by meditating on His Word.

Our minds are constantly bombarded with fear, doubt, and lies and The Word of God hidden in our hearts and minds is our most powerful spiritual weapon. You may say that your memory isn’t what it used to be but don’t worry about not being able to recall it when you need it—-the Holy Spirit will help you! Our job is to read it, think about it, write it down if you can, and talk about what you’ve read and what you’re learning every chance you get.

But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. — John 14:26

Friend, I hope my words have been an encouragement to you today. I’d love to hear your testimony about God’s Word and how it’s been a blessing to you! Leave a comment below or send me an email if you prefer. I’m not on social media these days, (you can read about that here) but please share this post if you think it might be helpful to someone you know.


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