Thursday, May 24, 2007

Freedom in the Rain

It may sound strange, but I love running in the rain. On Sunday, for example, I was out for a nice 4 mile run and at about 3 miles, the clouds opened. It came at the perfect time. I needed a little kick at that point, and the rain, far from deterring me, exhilarated me. First it started to sprinkle, then it became steady, and then it poured. The people driving by me probably thought I was crazy, as I actually spread my arms, opened my hands skyward and smiled. At that moment, I didn’t have a care in the world. I felt so happy, so joyful, so…free.

Are you free?

As I continued my run through the rain, I started to reflect on how free I felt, and then I began to reflect on what it means to be free…spiritually free. As it started to rain, I could have chosen to look for an overhang and run for cover. I could have let it ruin my pace, but in fact there was something about the rain that energized me. Then it struck me that the rain was like temptation. So often we can let temptation to sin ruin our spiritual pace. Temptation becomes the focus and we take our eyes off of Jesus. At times, when we’re tempted, we forget that the Lord allows it so that we can grow spiritually stronger. In the midst of temptation, however, the Lord invites us to pick up our spiritual pace and run to him with even more joy and exhilaration.

I experienced true freedom during my run because the rain did not stop me from pushing to the finish line; in fact, it empowered me to finish stronger; it made me joyful. I was free because I chose to run through the rain. Spiritual freedom does not mean that we are exempt from temptation, but it does mean that the temptations don’t stop us from going forward in our spiritual race. Remember: we are not alone. In fact, it’s only with God’s grace that we can overcome temptation. As St. Paul wrote, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).

Unfortunately, the modern day notion of freedom is completely detached from truth and responsibility. So many people believe that freedom is the ability to do whatever you want, whenever you want, wherever you want…as long as you’re not hurting anybody. But the tragic irony is that many of those who espouse this concept of freedom are actually enslaved by the very things they believe they’re freely choosing. How many people in our society are slaves to drugs, alcohol, money, sex, pornography…the list goes on and on. By using their freedom poorly, they have severely limited their freedom because they are no longer capable of choosing a different way.

True freedom is the ability to say “no” to temptation. True freedom is having mastery over our emotions and passions; we control them rather than them controlling us. With regard to our vocation, true freedom means that we answer with a resounding “yes” to whatever Jesus is asking of us. No fear of the future, only trust in the Lord.

Are you free? Most of us are not completely free, but as we grow in our friendship with Christ so too do we grow in authentic freedom. So, the next time you’re in the midst of temptation, remember that by saying no to yourself and yes to Christ, you are growing in true freedom. Heck, you might even use your freedom to go for a run…and hope it rains.


Post a Comment

<< Home