By Wendy Gustafson
I was walking in the park with my friend Janet when we passed an installation of some kind beside the path. “Oh look!” I said, “An exercise thing.” That’s when she told me about parcourse.
Parcourse is an outdoor fitness trail of stations with equipment designed to promote good health. Well-meaning municipalities put them in parks along walking paths, just out there in the open, where anyone can stop and get fit.
A friendly sign displays the proper way to do the exercise expected here, and suggests how many repetitions you should achieve in what length of time.
The idea is to run from one station to the next, stop, breathe, read the sign, do a gazillion reps of some awful contortion, get up, and run to the next one. A good thing about it is, it is out in the woods. You are at-one with nature—green trees, wildflowers, a painted sky, a cloud of mosquitoes... and if you time it right, there’s nobody there to watch you sweat. It is just you and nature and the parcourse.
Now, you have to know, I don’t run. I sashay. So from the get-go the parcourse is really not for me. Some of the stations are handy if you need to sit down for a while, but a parcourse is designed to place fitness at its most accessible for anyone on the run.
We Christians are always on the run. We are busy taking care of business, figuring it out, all by ourselves. Totally in control…not!
"The idea is to run from one station to the next, stop, breathe, read the sign, do a gazillion awful reps of some contortion, get up, and run to the next one."
Life is a parcourse. God sets up the stations for each one of us individually along the path we have chosen to walk. God’s parcourse is not to tire us out or to test us, but to train us. God wants to make us fit for Heaven and to train us to seek God whether we are on the mountain top or in the valley. God wants us to know inside our skin how to help others. Then God trains us to do it. God praises us when we train hard and learn, and then we praise God. God knows where we are weak and knows where our strengths are as well.
God pumps us up for the work here. There is lots to do. God’s intent is to trim down the heavy load of worry, pain, and fear we carry. God wants us fit for the work God has planned for us to take on.
Look to God as a trainer, getting us fit for Heaven. God wants us aware of how much we need this training. We get strong in the Lord. We get fit in our own selves so we can be fit to help others, not with all the answers, but with strength to try.
We develop an absolute confidence in our Personal Trainer. God molds us and shapes us, changes our outlook, and absorbs our fears. God makes us brave and bold to do the work God has for us, while always, always strengthening our bonds with Him.
Try the course God has set for you. Trust your Trainer. God has eyes on perfection. God will make sure you get there exactly right, trained in the skills and fitness needed now and to grow on. God will use you as an example for others. God will make you a helper to them as they try to run their own race.
So step out onto the path. Walk, run, or sashay to the first station. Learn from the Master what fitness is all about. Be fit for Heaven here and Heaven up there.