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running in reverse

I'm training for my next half-marathon as part of the Chosen: Marathon for Adoption at the end of this month. I'm running with Team Bowen, who are raising money to adopt a child from Russia. (You can read their story here and contribute to their adoption if you like.)

I do my training for runs mostly on the Chisholm Trail in Plano. I can connect with the trail about a mile from my house, and it provides up to 13 miles of continuous running/riding trails. (I typically run in the grass alongside the concrete path.)

This morning I went out for a 6-mile run (64F, 97% humidity), and as I got close to the trail I decided to run my usual course in reverse. In doing so, I ran faster, fresher, and all the bridges, houses, crossings, and scenery looked different. Uphills became downhills and vice versa. Even the ducks along the banks looked different. That choice changed how I saw what I had seen hundreds of times before. I recommend you try running familiar training routes in reverse to get a fresh look on things.

Running in reverse provided a fresh perspective to a very familiar path.

We are reading through the New Testament this fall as Legacy Church. (If you want to jump in with us, you can find the reading plan here, or sign up for the daily emails here.) When I got home from my run and sat down to read my daily reading, I remembered my decision to run my usual course in reverse, and I read Mark 15 (NIRV) that way. No, I didn't read word-for-word in reverse. I read the paragraphs from end to beginning.

The chapter has editorial titles: Jesus Brought to Pilate, The Soldiers Make Fun of Jesus, Jesus in Nailed to a Cross, and Jesus Dies. I started with the last incident and read them in sequence backwards. This familiar story read in reverse, which is critically important to our faith, revealed fresh insights to the injustice, cruelty, and suffering Jesus faced on the cross for you and me.

Reading in reverse let me read with with the end of the story as the starting point. Jesus' death became the reference point for his trial, mockery, and suffering. It didn't change the message. Reading that way gave me a fresh look at an old story.

When you know the end of the story, it may take away some of the expectation and anxiety while in the story, but it will also give you hope in the middle of it. Knowing Jesus rose from the dead and that he will return triumphant gives a fresh perspective to the suffering and heartache he faced and we face each day.