What gets me is that for many of you, it probably would have been easy. You like my husband may have been a little tired after the uphill climb to Grotto falls in the Great Smokey Mountain park but you would have been fine. I had even done the 1.4 mile trek as a teenager without complaint. But for me with a right knee on the mend from a break right before Easter it was very hard and painful.
What surprised me the most was it wasn’t my right knee or my right foot that was giving me the pain. It was my whole left leg. Working extra hard to compensate for my right it kept cramping up the further we went. It was hard work and at one point I had to stop and sit and drink water and pray for strength. I wondered how I was going to make the trek back to the car when I could hardly get to the waterfall itself. Imagine my joy when I finally made it. The waterfall was pretty. My kids enjoyed themselves playing in the water, climbing and standing behind the falls. But I got to sit and rest for a moment which was what I desperately needed.
In Hebrews it reminds us that we are running a great race. Now mind you I walk slow and many people passed me up on my way up to the waterfall. I was in a race to stay up with my family who would go out of the sight of my vision from time to time. It says in Hebrews 12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witness (who by faith have testified to the truth of God’s absolute faithfulness), stripping off every unnecessary weight and the sin which so easily and cleverly entangles us, let us run with endurance and active persistence the race that is set before us (Looking away from all that will distract us and) focusing our eyes on Jesus who is the Author and Perfector of faith.”
When we started I had planned to carry the water for us all in a small backpack we had. My husband graciously took it instead. Could you imagine how much harder the bag of water bottles would have been? My husband also carried my 5 year-old son on his shoulder’s a few times. That weight would have made my walking impossible. I probably would not have finished the trail after even trying to lift him. Sin is like that it weighs us down and makes it hard to move, it easily and cleverly entangles us, stopping us from fulfilling our purpose.
I can be stubborn and I was determined to get to that waterfall. God wants us determined to get to the finish line but what I didn’t have was endurance. All those weeks in a brace left my muscles in my legs weak. I struggled because I lack endurance. How do we grow spiritual endurance? Well In my life God started with small things I had to endure and they got bigger and bigger overtime. It might be hard for you to have patience when you text someone and they don’t text you back right away or to wait for more than 15 minutes at a doctor’s office. God might build your endurance by causing you to have to endure those sorts of things over and over again until they don’t bother you anymore. In my case it was other employees where I worked that would put me down or talk about me behind my back. I dealt with it daily until I learned how to turn the other cheek and not let them get me so upset.
Patience is a type of endurance. Its a fruit of the spirit, which means as Joyce Meyers teaches when you have the Holy spirit in you have the ability to be patience. But like any muscle you must practice it to grow it. Waiting grows patience. Working a muscle is painful. I’ve been though enough physical therapy to understand that concept. Just like waiting is no fun. Don’t be afraid to work your muscles. The more you do the less painful and sore it becomes.
Finally this verse talks about focusing on Jesus. It’s funny the shirt I was wearing yesterday is a sunny yellow shirt that says, “Focus on Jesus” that I got when I volunteered at Camp Allendale last year. He is the “Author and Perfector” of our faith. We need to keep our eyes focused on Him if we are going to finish are race. He’s the prize, the waterfall at the end. He is the reason we are running in the first place and He alone can help us finish our race. He alone helped me get to the top of that waterfall. It was something I couldn’t do in my own strength. He even let it rain a little to cool me off. He’s such a good Father!