Sometimes one weary step after the other is the only way to move forward.
The heat and humidity of a situation drains our stamina and we may look for a quick way off the long trek and into the shade of sidestepping issues thinking we may faint … but there’s no turning back. We are where we are and respite only lies by continuing ahead, perhaps far ahead. Serving in the desire to go the distance, yet reeling from the tall order to reject that which would bring us temporary relief, we pray for the fortitude to walk on loose gravel paths of uncertainty with faithfulness.
‘Lord, have mercy.’
We watch for signs which point us in the direction of cool waters beside the path and at the journey’s end, but the trail to these discoveries of grace and transformation lead through unknown territory, unknown length, unknown bends. Heatwaves of hardship keep us leaning into him. We brace ourselves to face our own weaknesses and vulnerabilities. We keep pace in the strength of Christ to finish the race without losing our way, without stumbling as the sun beats down at the height of the day.
Bone tired. Mired in the bog of dragging feet, a lengthy pilgrimage may wear us down.
Yet, despite soggy spirits drenched with the exertion of perseverance on the walk we are led, we are shown blessings along the way to keep us from fraying at the edges under the wear and tear of many second miles, invited to dip our feet in the waters of his love over and over again.
We reflect on the difficult parts of our journey, the things turning over in our minds, and begin to notice his guiding, sustaining hand in a new light. This hand may at times have hiked up the heat to burn off the dross of our lives, yet we come to see that this too was all done in love. We take a few more steps and glimpse positive effects of hot weather in our training for righteousness we may have missed before.
His consolations and comfort are found at every turn, and we learn without a doubt that he is able to bring us home.
We keep going, knowing we will come to a deeper knowledge of our harbour in him and be renewed moment by moment though the air of haughty airs about us be stifling.
He is the path of his choosing for us, and we will make our way safely home in him.
30 Even youths shall faint and be weary,
and young men shall fall exhausted;
31 but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint.
‘Lord, we thank you for the resting spots when cliffs of change rise high and make the upwards climb difficult. We thank you for taking us only one step at a time when stiffness of heart and inflammatory joint ventures rake us over coals and leave us feeling crest fallen, scattered to the wind. We thank you for staking our security on the Rock who is higher than we are, on the One who blocks the scorching heat of accusation in the shade of the cross and gives relief beneath the very clouds of storm we initially think to be so unpleasant.
For each one walking a path of patient faithfulness because of love for you; for each one taking stalk of how much more they must endure before the ocean of your love and sweet release from suffering comes into full view; for each one thinking they can go no further …
may the sunset of striving slip over the edge of the horizon to cast the glow of your presence and bring rest; may the running, toil and sweat of driving onwards in our own strength slip under the rails of sturdy nailprints giving quiet peace in any test; may our experience of persevering faith be reset in Christ so we will fly on wings of grace wherever the Spirit leads. Amen.’