Paul was new to the sport of hiking other than the necessity of making it from the front door to the car on the way to his office. Work, I know how to do. Walk – well that, too, but it was never very much fun.
But the senior’s new wife, Carol, had other ideas.
“We’re going to see the historical houses today,” she announced cheerfully, “so bring your walking shoes.”
When they reached the first of the more than century-old houses, he groused, “Do I haveta get out of the car?”
Even over time, Carol didn’t give up. Both were gaining in strength and endurance. So she suggested, “The town is having a celebration walk. Which one of these do you want to do with me – or would you rather be the cheering section?”
He thought long and hard – for weeks. Just about the time she decided the non-verbal answer was “No,” he quizzed her, “Which one is the shortest?”
As the two hiked toward the half-way point of the racewalk, Paul huffed and puffed, “Where is that water station where we get to turn around? We’ve been walking for hours!” But they crossed the finish line with a smile – the oldest couple in any category.
“Well done, Paul,” Carol congratulated him. “Definitely a thumbs up for the geriatric group!”
On an out-of-town trip to a scenic park, Carol coaxed Paul into traversing “The Waterfall Trail.” But even his walking experiences to that point didn’t prepare him for the climb. “Geez! Who built these steps! They’re as high as my knees!” He clung to the guardrail that bent downward and disappeared on the rock face. “Whoever they hired to build this trail should be giving their wages back to the boss!”
But Paul made it and looked up at the fern-covered cliff with water misting onto his face. The beauty of the destination was worth it. He then realized that his opinion of walking and hiking was changing. He had built up his muscles and lungs so that his walking wasn’t painful anymore.
Paul’s trials in building endurance pushed him to persevere. Carol was proud of him.
Endurance in the Christian journey is uphill and downhill, and crossing uneven ground, steps and slopes that are difficult. Painful moments of the journey include all kinds of challenges. But ultimately, they build strength and character.
Persevere and have hope in these words:
“We rejoice in the hope and glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance character, and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love in our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.” [Romans 5:2-5 NIV]
Whether it’s doing something new that is scary, standing firm in confrontations, setting boundaries, trying the impossible, calling on courage to do the right thing, God is with you. You will be able to tackle those things that are difficult and never have to ask, “Do I haveta get out of the car?” You’ll be first with endurance for the journey.
[Jo Russell is a Christian speaker, author of articles, anthology contributions, and award-winning Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women. available from Amazon.com, her speaking engagements and website, www.button-to-god.com. Enjoy chuckles and speeches, tips and excerpts in website options and weekly blog.]