My former husband was a Natural Resources Technician. One of his jobs was timber cruising – walking through large areas of woodland designated as potential logging operations and measuring, assessing and marking trees that could be harvested. This job required walking many kilometers over and through a wide range of terrain.
One of his crew members was a fellow in his 60’s (!) who had been doing that type of work for many years. At the end of one particularly long and difficult day, the fellow wearily sat down and stated “my dawgs are barkin’ and my birds are chirpin'”. It was his quaint way of saying that his legs and feet were killing him.
In a number of previous posts, I have shared my struggle with chronic pain, fatigue, and mental health issues. Some days the symptoms are just nagging shadows but on other days they are like roaring lions. I have recently started working again at a job that requires me to be on my feet all day. After my first day, I hobbled home on legs and feet that were not simply “barkin’ and chirping” but “howlin’ and screachin’! When I got home, all I could do was soak my legs and feet and take pain meds and sit on the couch. The next day, I had to do it all over again! It has now been 3 weeks and I wish that I could say that the pain has gone away, but it hasn’t – although it has lessened somewhat.
Maybe you are asking “why are you doing something that causes you pain??” I do it because I am reaping benefits that are important to me. Working allows me to get out of my small apartment, socialize with a wide variety of people, earn some “mad money”, dress up in fun clothes, and have a sense of purpose. It also challenges me to push through difficult situations.
I think that “pushing through” is often a large part of our lives – both worldly and spiritual. I also think that it is the “pushing through” which develops and strengthens our character and our faith. When difficult and/or painful things occur in our lives, we can’t just lay down, roll over and play dead hoping that someone else will make it all go away. We have an enemy who will always being throwing fiery curve balls at us in an attempt to destroy us. He wants us to just roll over and play dead; after all, a dead body does not make a very good witness to life! And Jesus came that we might have life!
Joh 10:10 The thief does not come except to steal and to kill and to destroy. I have come so that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
Joh 20:31 But these are written so that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you might have life in His name.
The Bible is filled with the true stories of people who had to “push through” difficult times in order to obtain something better. DAvid had to push through fear and physical hardships before he was able to take his place as the King of Israel. Esther had to push through fears of punishment and death in order to plead the case of the Israelites before the King. The apostle Paul relates a long list of things that he experienced, endured and had to push through.
2Co 11:23-28 Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as beside myself,) I am more! I have been in labors more abundantly, in stripes above measure, in prisons more, in deaths many times. Five times from the Jews I received forty stripes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked. I have spent a night and a day in the deep. I have been in travels often; in dangers from waters; in dangers from robbers; in dangers from my race; in dangers from the heathen; in dangers in the city; in dangers in the wilderness; in dangers on the sea; in dangers among false brothers.
I have been in hardship and toil; often in watchings; in hunger and thirst; often in fastings; in cold and nakedness; besides the things outside conspiring against me daily, the care of all the churches.
Our ultimate example for pushing through is found in the person of Jesus Christ. In the Garden of Gethsemane we see him pushing through his fear of the knowledge of what terrible thing was going to happen to him.
Mat 26:38 Then He said to them, My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Wait here and watch with Me.
Mat 26:39 And He went a little further and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me. Yet not as I will, but as You will.
Long distance runners know that they have to push through the burning in their lungs before they will get their “second wind” and they must push through the burning in their legs to cross the finish line. Oftentimes, before we can appreciate and enjoy life, or obtain answer to prayer, we need to push through difficult circumstances. We need to keep putting one foot in front of the other in order to reach our break through.
Jesus pushed through fear, rejection, humiliation, torture and death so that we might have forgiveness of our sins and a sure hope of eternal life.
Heb 12:2 looking to Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and sat down at the right of the throne of God.
I encourage and exhort you to keep pushing through the hard, painful and difficult things in your life. Seek God’s help and trust in Him to bring you through. You will come out a winner!
Heb 12:1 Therefore since we also are surrounded with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily besets us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,