By Nathan Kline
Recently I embarked on an adventure I wasn’t sure I could complete: I signed up to race in a half marathon. So in the fall of 2013, I registered for the 13.1-mile race with a goal time of 2 hours and 5 minutes.
Quickly time passed for me to begin my training. Starting in the cold winter month of February, I trekked out for short runs, gradually building up to longer distances. Each week I would add a mile or two to my long runs, climaxing at 13 miles before the big race.
After reaching the peak of my training, I had to do this thing called tapering, which is just runner’s jargon for taking it easy. After weeks of accomplishing new distances, my distain for tapering could not be higher. But little did I know what tapering was really doing to prepare me for the race.
Cleansing a City
Jerusalem at one point seemed like an indestructible city. There was the climax of Jerusalem and the people of Israel in the united monarchy, but when we read about the destruction of the city in Jeremiah 33 there is a definite turn in mood.
Yet, like many great prophecies, there was a promise of a great future on the other side. After the destruction of the city and a return from exile, the inhabitants of Jerusalem were promised an even better city after their sorrow—giving reasons for much rejoicing.
On the Other Side
You could say that the Judeans went through their own tapering phase. They had many climactic moments, but right before the ultimate moment in God’s story, the Judeans had to be cleansed.
For me, I understood why tapering was so important on the day of my race. I finished a whole 8 minutes faster than my goal, and there was much rejoicing when I crossed the finish line. For the Judeans, the cleansing stage was awful, but on the other side there was reason for celebration.
In our lives we may experience times of scaling back that cause us much frustration, but we’ll ultimately experience the other side, giving us reasons to rejoice!
Nathan Kline is the Associate Minister at North Hills Christian Church in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he lives with his wife, Michelle.