Inspiration comes from the simplest places causing the most significant manifestation of life in the process. A few verses in the Epistle of James inspired a boy to pray, leading to the organization of an international church that continues to change lives for tens of millions. A dream by a new father led him to relocate his family saving the life of the child who became the focus of a powerful religious movement some 2 billion adherents strong. A mother reading to her daughter every night sparked her to create stories that charmed a generation.
Small things. Small stories. Small acts all become the impetus for glorious movements in the lives of all of humanity. Those acts are not always pleasant or pretty, but with the right channel, they become more than anyone could have imagined.
A story at a church meeting is one such small act. One that talks about how a daily jog can be a microcosm for the life of a Saint.
What Is Joggling?
One of the leaders in my church stood to share his feelings about living a Christ-like life, how ordinary daily transactions can mirror life in actuality. He spoke about his workout. Each day this older gentleman would take to task a five-mile run. As he described his workout, he later admitted his running was more akin to a jog and a waddle mixed together, equalling a joggle. It could have been a wog or a joddle, but joggle seemed to fit better. The point is, he was actively moving along to get his heart rate pumping.
During his daily joggle, he viewed the temple, the Phoenix Temple, which is a fixture of faith in the lives of many people who follow Jesus Christ because of what it represents: Love, Eternity, Faith, Rest, Peace, etc.
To members of my church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, temples serve the purpose of solidifying our faith in Jesus Christ as we make covenants to follow His laws and assist others to do so. It is a place of freedom from the cares of the bustle of daily living.
In his daily five-mile adventure joggling, this leader decided to use the temple as his halfway point of his workout, 2.5-mile marker. Above the tree-line, on his way into his workout, he could see the statue of Moroni, an ancient witness of Christ blowing a horn, beckoning him to rest from his journey for a spell. His muscles lurched him forward to his goal as the steeple with the statue weaved in to view and out on his journey to the halfway point of his workout.
Weary body and all, the leader thought of stopping before getting to the 2.5-mile marker. It was his workout. He could stop and rest at any point to catch his breath. Muscles ached a little and it was not a race to get to a destination, just a workout. No. Plans before the workout were to stop at the halfway mark and rest at the temple with is manicured flora and architectural delights. The rest would be more than a breath-catching event, but also a treat to see the beauty of the building and the faith in Christ it inspired in him.
Suddenly, a dull pinch shocked his senses as his joggled turned into an arhythmic dance. On his way to the temple, an insidious metal object punctured his foot, a nail.
Nails are not supposed to be on the path to his destination, and definitely none in his feet! If a time to rest was warranted, this was one. Heck. This was reason enough to end the joggle altogether!
No. Eyes stayed forward to get to the temple, the place where he committed himself to Christ. Ignoring the pain and the extra strain on his body, he made it to the temple where he rested from the toil of the first part of his joggle. Did he check his foot for injury while there? No mention was made of it. The quiet serenity of the temple grounds rested his soul and his body for the next journey home to end his workout.
Knowing the destination was to be home changed how difficult the journey would be for him. Leaving the temple rejuvenated for the last leg of the joggle, the leader pushed on without focusing on the weariness of his muscles. Though 2 miles lay ahead of him, his rest gave him the strength to refocus on his goal: to complete a five mile run for the day.
Slightly, though, there would be no home free run. It became more intense. Running, the joggle itself was not intense, but what happened during the activity. For the first time in his Arizona life, he saw a rattlesnake on the joggle path! Coiled along the edge his eyes spotted the deadly viper almost jostling his spirit out of his body!
"After screaming like a little girl," he said. "Because one of my biggest fears are snakes," he found upon further investigation the snake was dead. Though his fears were unwarranted, they were still very real as he exercised on. The experience threw him for a loop of distraction from his journey for a while as the adrenaline in his veins resorted to regular levels following the fright.
On his path toward home, a Jack Daniels bottle jumped off the sidewalk and attacked him with full force! Actually, he stepped on it. An empty bottle of liquor could have undone him if he had lost his balance on the thing while running. Frightened by a dead snake, ankle twisting empty liquor bottles, with an appetizer of iron in the form of a nail puncturing his running shoes, the leader did not let the events of the joggle stop his progress. Picking up ole Jack Daniels bottle off the ground, he put it off his path.
As he turned the corner heading towards his home, an abandoned sleaze magazine was littered across his path with the pages strewn about. Nails, snakes, liquor, and porn. All on the run back home! He stopped and picked up the loose pages stashing them in the bushes out of the way of potential tender eyes. Yes, he could have through them in the nearest trash can and avoid littering, but if someone found that sleaze in their trash, what problems would it cause in their home?
Rather litter a bush than potentially disrupt a home.
Summary of Life
After his joggle, the leader related his workout to life in general for a Saint. Many times we strive to get to the temple to make those covenants with Jesus Christ. We start with the good intention of going to church, temple, or meeting only to step on a nail along the way that makes it hard to take that step.
Some Sundays it is hard to get up and go to church. The week was hard and it seems better to lay in bed and relax and recoup for next week. However, those who know remember the peace that following God potentially provides leading them to go on in faith to seek that blessing.
Finding that respite, thinking that we have made it to a safe place after going to church, temple, meeting and such, life continues. After we commit to God, going on in faith life seems to get more distracting due to the extra attempts of the Devil to bring us down because of our journey.
The more we follow Christ, the more we will be tempted to give up on Him when times get rough. We see the nails in life that make committing seem like a hard thing and move passed them. We see the dead rattlesnakes of life after our walk with Christ begins only to find them to be not as threatening as we had thought.
Just because we are married in the Temple with eternal families does not mean that we are safe from that point. No. Not until the joggle is complete and we see God face to face.
Pain, suffering, fear, temptation, porn, addiction issues are all constant temptations that the Adversary will seek ways to introduce into our lives on many levels on our daily joggles.
We as Saints, Christians must recognize that accepting Christ is not the end of the journey. Being saved does not end our journey through life. We cannot ease through the rest of life without incident. Jesus did not. His journey grew more difficult from the time He entered His public ministry until He died.
If we understand that our journey will continue to be a test until we get home to God, we will never falter off the path or our joggle when dead snakes appear--even live ones!
It is the point in our lives that we recognize God as our destination and fight the temptations the Adversary will use from regular life to try and pull us down into the despair in which he lives.
Our journey may be hard sometimes, but there is always a way to peace along those hard times if we keep the destination as the focus of our happiness.
Life begins when we make it through this test of mortality. The Lord wants us to live that celestial life now as if we have it because when we get to the end we will be ready to continue where we left off as one of Jesus Christ's disciples. Then can He crown us as joint-heirs in the kingdom of God through His grace. Amen
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2019 Rodric Anthony Johnson