Mondays have been my long hiking days on this journey to follow the Lord. I’ve been adding distance every week – up to 16.5 miles which takes me more than 5 hours. This past Monday however, my body was not in top shape so I decided to only attempt 12 miles. It was a chilly fall morning so I bundled myself up with several layers of clothing, gloves, scarf, hat, and earmuffs and headed out for 4 hours. I expected a breeze, but I was not prepared for the stiff cold wind that assaulted me as I approached the edge of town.
Most of the crops have been harvested now, so I hike west among open farm fields – straight into the wind. My cheeks and thighs were burning from the cold. My upper body kept tensing up, and I had to frequently remind myself to relax my shoulders and neck. I was using a lot more energy fighting against the wind, and I was cold. Hours of cold. Everything in me wanted to toss in the towel, turn around, and head for home – my old self. This was hard, unpleasant, and even painful – not something I had signed up for. I could just walk on my treadmill and be warm while doing it.
I have found that quitting in the face of difficult circumstances leaves me very far from my goal. So I checked my attitude, prayed that God would strengthen me, took breaks in the ditches to get out of the wind for a moment and sit in the sun to warm up a bit before pressing on. I’d tell myself, “You’ve come 4 miles, only 2 more. You can do this.” Or, “only a mile left and then you can turn around and put this wind behind you”. (Where is my pinterest motivation list when I need it?)
As I approached the church, where I would turn around to head home, the winds got stiffer. Seriously! I was almost there, and I had to battle for every step (and I still had over 6 miles to go before getting back to the house – back to warmth). I prayed and asked God to calm the winds – He didn’t. Instead He strengthened me against the wind. But that is how life is. Often the most difficult part of a trial comes just before you reach your goal. The evil one wants us to think it is impossible. (God’s truth is that with Jesus, NOTHING is impossible.) Press on. Don’t give in, give up, and go home. You are almost there. One more step, one more day, ONE MORE.
I don’t know where you are in your journey with Jesus, but I do know that all of our journeys will come with some pretty stiff, cold winds. Trust God, turn to God and He will strengthen you. Relax your shoulders and lean on Him.
Don’t give up.
Be encouraged. Press on.