Your arms are shaking and your thighs are burning. You don’t feel strong and capable, but rather weak and miserable. All you can think about is how much you are ready for the workout to be over, and maybe even how much you hate exercising and sweating. Lets be real the majority of the time we are not jumping for joy and singing Disney princess style while we are getting ready to hit the gym, go for a run or whatever your choice of exercise poison is. Sure we get lucky and some days if the mood is just right, and every star is lined up perfectly in the sky you can actually look forward to the workout and sort of kind of enjoy it. But other times it can be just plain hard work. A thought that helps motivate most is that knowing how good it is for you and your body, and how much better you will feel after it.
Often times for me the hardest part isn’t starting the workout, but rather finishing it. By the end I’m exhausted and ready to pass out. That’s when I think how much a trainer would be convenient. Some days it would the trainer with bold in my face encouragement not to give up, and gets that fire going to help me finish strong. Other times it would be that gentle encouragement that tells me they believe that I can one more round, one more time.
I started thinking about this today as I was reading in Isaiah 35
3. Strengthen the weak hands,
And make firm the feeble knees.
4. Say to those who are fearful-hearted,
“Be strong, do not fear!
Behold, your God will come with vengeance,
With the recompense of God;
He will come and save you.”
I was asking myself when do you feel weak and feeble. The first thought was when I am dehydrated and hungry and correlated that to when we are spiritually hungry. When we haven’t spent enough time in the word, and you can feel your attitude and resolve slipping. Then I thought sometimes I feel the weakest when I am attempting to make myself stronger. Sometimes its when you are on the bench trying to hit your next goal, but its just too much still, or you start kipping on that pull up because your just not there yet and your form takes the toll for it. Maybe its the next day when you hit that goal, but you strained so hard you can’t do it again, and you feel like you are only going backwards. Isn’t this so much like trails in our life. Trails are meant to strengthen us. To work on our character and to prepare us for the future. We sometimes have to go through the valleys in order to recognize the mountain tops. It causes us to gain perspective and each valley we go through makes us a little bit stronger and gets our roots to go down just a little bit deeper.
God is the ultimate personal trainer. He knows best how to train us. He can see the end goal where so much of the time in our limited perspective we tend be blind to that vision. So He knows what workouts to do, just how much to push us and when. When we are going through trials we so often feel weak and feeble. It doesn’t feel like we are ever gonna get through it, and its so hard to see results in the middle of it. Sometimes God is the “trainer” that is talking you through it. One more rep here, go one more round today or you can do that last mile. It’s the Bible verse that we read at just the right time, the sermon we listen to that meets us right where we are at, that worship song that comes on at the right moment or prayers of a friends that help keep us going. All of those are God getting us through those hard times. Other times God seems to be quiet. You are consumed by the thought of how much the weight is or how daunting the task or the valley may be. That is when I see God like a spotter. He feels so far when you are focused on the bar in your hands, but when you look up He is standing right there saying I’ve got you and you can do this. He knows when to let us push through and when to take the bar and give us rest.
Here is the thing if God always stepped in when that bar started to feel heavier then we think we could bear, would we ever grow? If He always took the pain and the suffering out of our lives we would never see the results of going one more rep. Yet, He isn’t vindictive either. He doesn’t yell at you for not being able to max out, and He doesn’t stand there saying you can’t get up until you press a million pounds. He is a capable God that can and will step into our lives. He shows us this with Jesus He died on the cross so that we could be free, and to save us. What a great God we serve! So next time you feel like you are in the valley strain spiritually to dig deeper and to pull closer to the Lord. To listen for His encouragement and seek Him out along the way, because He is helping you to become stronger. Not that the suffering isn’t any less real or hurt any less, but that there is a purpose to the trail. You may not always get to see the reason why you went through it, but know God is in control and knows the beginning and the end. He sees the end goal. So go one more rep, one more mile, one more lap or one more round, one more time. You can do it!