Getting Stronger

Glory and I are on our trip to AtlantaFest. I posted on Facebook that we were going and wondered if anyone might want to join us. A friend let her son and best friend tag along. I’m really looking forward to all the outdoor-ness, the music and fellowship!

We got on the road within … probably thirty minutes of our “goal departure” time.   Though the kayak made a horrendous howling sound as it hung onto the top of the van, we made it to Stone Mountain without incident.

We went to the opening concert by Building 429, watched the popular Laser Light show projected upon the face of the mountain and then headed back to the camp site.

Even though the night was late, sleep was sound and I found myself being awakened by the wonderful – and loud – conversation of chickadees, titmouses and cardinals.

First shock: I brought two left running shoes.  oops.  I was forced to go out running in a great pair of shoes … that aren’t the best for running.  But, I really wanted to exercise.  oops .. two left shoes

As I ran I questioned whether I should be running at all.
We will be doing …. realistically …. miles of walking today.  The concert isn’t near parking.  Parking isn’t near anything. Yep, we’ll be doing a lot of walking.

But, as I put one foot in front of another, I thought again about getting stronger.

If you walk five miles a day, but only five miles a day, you will not be able to maintain that five miles over the course of time.  You must go MORE than five miles along the way so that you can remain strong from start to finish on those days when only five miles is required. If not, your body will settle into that five mile comfort.

I couldn’t help but think about the spiritual parallel to this idea.

If we live our lives in a place of comfort, when difficulty does come along, we won’t be strong enough for it.  It is the trials that stretch our spiritual muscles … that break them down so that they may rebuild – stronger and better equipped for the next stretch.

Shortly after my run, I came across a motorcycle with a great bumper sticker on the helmet that was secured at the seat.  It was a resounding reminder of this idea.

You would kind of think that that someone might say “enough,” if being given something bad.  But, even in the difficulties, there is much to gain.

Elisabeth Elliot is one of my all time favorite Bible teachers and speakers.  She speaks with wisdom and most of all, is so tempered with grace, mercy and love.  I still remember her sharing once on her radio program that her prayer is not that God would remove the difficult situation(s) from her life, but that He would teach her what she needs to know while she is in is so that she may grow stronger and closer to Him.  I heard her share that AT LEAST fifteen years ago, and it still strikes me boldly.

This prayer I have made my own.

Lord, allow me to learn what I need to know
from each difficult situation
rather than removing me from it
while there is more to gain.

When I have a long way to walk,
rather than shirking my daily muscle building,
help me to go the extra mile
to gain strength.

When someone asks me
if I’ve had enough,
help me have the courage to say
“no,”
until the time that
YOU let me know
I’m finished
and can
or should
stop
the task at hand
no matter how difficult.

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