On Wednesday I got to spend some precious time with my dear father who lives on Whidbey Island in Washington where I grew up. One of our favorite things to do is to walk down our beach trail and take our long beach walks.
At the end of our walk coming back up the steep trail, I was huffing and puffing and completely winded only half way up. My father briskly walked up the trail, keeping a steady pace ahead of me. I was literally heaving while he seemed to have no problem. I yelled up ahead and said, “hey wait a minute, you are 79 and not even breathing heavy, and I am 43 and practically dying half way up. What is with that? There is something wrong with this picture”. He laughed at me and said, oh kiddie, you are just not used to this beach trail anymore. I walk up and down this thing all the time. If you did this regularly it would become a lot easier for you as well. This trail gets you in shape.
My physical challenge this week is realizing how out of shape I am, and how I need to exercise more to build my endurance and stamina physically.
In that same light, Spiritually this also reminds me of how important it is to build endurance and spiritual stamina as well. In life we are thrown a lot of curve balls through some tough stuff. Whether it be mistakes we have personally made, or through mistakes of our children, spouse, friends or co-workers. In all the disappointments of life, if we do not press into the things of God and practice spiritual disciplines, these hardships will crush us. We will not have endurance or stamina to stand.
I have realized if I do not get my alone time on a daily basis with God, even if just for a short time, I am not a very pleasant person to be around. My insecurities, lack of faith, and selfishness comes to the surface and my attitude about my life and the life of others is despairing. I begin to lose hope for today and for the future.
Reading and pondering scriptures, releasing my anxieties and problems to God, is my source of refuge with my God. I have also learned that surrounding myself with those who are equally passionate about God, spurs me on in my faith as well. We all need those around us who are full of faith and God’s love. These ones help usher in a sweep of God’s presence into our lives.
In 2 Timothy 2, the apostle Paul was encouraging Timothy to endure/persevere like a soldier, athlete, or farmer would so that he would reap his reward with Christ. He was letting Timothy know, this life was not going to be easy but incredibly rewarding.