I love to take walks. I’ve always used it for my time of meditation when my deep thoughts erupt to the surface and I’m confronted with often impossible questions that I’ll never figure out the answers to. Sometimes its less complicated than that. Sometimes I just talk to God like He’s right there on that walk with me. Today God talked to me through a radio program that pumped miraculously through little white wires connected to my iphone. That’s another thing I don’t get, but it’s not the thing that occupied my walking time.
The radio program today related to how our faith grows through endurance. I’m in a cycle of endurance training right now. It started about a year ago. It pushed me hard-perhaps harder than I’ve ever been pushed. I crumbled often, but I also got up often. I feel I’m getting close to the end of this cycle, but the cynic in me is a little hesitant to start celebrating. Even if I am close, the key word is “cycle”. Another phase of endurance will enter my life and I’ve learned that means another opportunity that will strengthen my faith muscle instead of turning to fat.
That was kind of what the message I heard today talked about. Our challenges present us with options. One is to endure. As with any physical training, the more you endure, the stronger you become, and then the more you can endure. If you give up, the training you went through becomes all for naught.
I know so many people who have gone through amazingly intense endurance training themselves. The types of things that make my life crises seem unremarkable, mundane and insignificant. However, these people are remarkably faithful. Their training strengthened their faith. It demonstrates(ed) for me how faithful God is. I question without the trials would we as humans be able to develop the faithfulness God needs from us to live the life He designed for us? Would we accomplish His ultimate purpose in this life?
There is only one way out of this world for us. Yesterday someone remarked to me how unbelievable the streets of gold must be in Heaven. Recognizing it’s a controversial subject, I recall someone telling me about their dying loved one who believes he briefly saw Heaven before passing away and shared how astonishing it was. If we didn’t have faith, we wouldn’t believe God sent His son, Jesus, to die for our sins. We wouldn’t be able to experience the astonishment of Heaven.
In the Bible it says we grow our faith by listening.
17 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.
We need others to share their faith in order to strengthen our faith. We need to hear from people who have endured and as such have been strengthened. To me, then, without the drama in our lives we never have to endure and we can’t build our faith. We wouldn’t have muscle. We would just have fat. If we could build faith without endurance I know God would allow it because we know from Psalms about His unfailing love (mentioned at least 32 times).
I don’t want anyone I care for to struggle. I don’t want to struggle myself. The fact is by our very being, we do. So let’s do something with the struggle. Let’s use it for positive reinforcement. Let’s battle it and not let it win. Let’s grow from it and help others who might be weaker to be stronger. Endurance training bites. Is it fair to say that? However, endurance training accomplishes what God needs to accomplish. Those streets of gold are waiting for each and every one of us who believes. If my endurance training helps someone who doesn’t know God, or isn’t quite sure, or me, I’ve helped add some muscle where the fat was and God has blessed us all. I certainly appreciate the times when I’m off the training course, but recognize I probably won’t get to rest for long.