GOD SUGGESTS WE CHOOSE HIKING BOOTS.
LET'S ENJOY OUR JOURNEY!
IT'S NOT LIKELY TO BE BORING!
We can't say that God didn't inform us. "For the ways of a man are before the eyes of the Lord, and He watches all his paths." (Proverbs 5:21) "The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps” (Proverbs 16:9). God's ways are higher than man's. Father knows best. Our path may be rough at times, but it is not because God wants to see us suffer or see how much we can endure—His plan is chosen for each of us in love with a bright end in view.
God has punched our particular journey and the glorious destination into our Life-GPS. Let's not worry about the rugged terrain, the crooked ways, and rough places. We have His assurance that in the end the path will straighten and become smooth because "in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose" (Romans 8:28).
The Lord is primarily interested in our response to the blisters and callouses our hiking boots are causing us. And in our response to the hot desert sand of our circumstances, the sudden thunderstorms of reversals, the winds of broken relationships that may befall our life-house, and the floods of afflictions that may threaten to overwhelm us.
Such things are “common to man,” a part of our lives on Planet Earth. “Think it not strange,” Scripture says, when we encounter such things while following what we believe is God's plan for our lives.
Of course, sometimes we bring the problems on ourselves. We may suffer the consequences of our wrong decisions, bad habits, or sins. Sometimes we suffer because of standing for righteousness. In the latter case, we are told to “count it all joy” instead of complaining. “All that will live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.” “Blessed are you,” declares the Lord, “when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake” (Matthew 5:11).
Sometimes God plans our rough, variable terrain for endurance training, to exercise our faith and discipline us toward our transformation into the image of Christ. Like the triathlon, a multiple-stage sport competition involving the completion of three continuous and sequential endurance disciplines, swimming, cycling, and running. In the same way, we may feel that one thing after another assaults us in rapid succession.
Will hardships and troubles never cease, we wonder? Will the mountains and valleys, the highs and the lows, never cease? Will I ever be able to coast along on the level and not have to pump so hard? How long do I have to endure my life triathlon?
Dr. Andrew Murray, a missionary statesman and prolific writer of a past century gave wise and biblical counsel. “In time of trouble say, First—God brought me here. It is by His will I am in this strait place. In that I will rest. Next—He will keep me in His love and give me grace in this trial to behave as His child. Then—He will make the trial a blessing, teaching me the lessons He intends me to learn, and working in me the grace He means to bestow. Last—In His good time He can bring me out again—how and when He knows. Therefore say: I am here—1) By God's appointment, 2) In His keeping, 3) Under His training, 4) For His time.”
There is a Finish Line and when we reach it, we will declare that it was worth it all!