Why is it I feel like my spiritual walk too often resembles my physical walk? By this I refer to the fact that I plod along day after day, it is not pretty, it is not graceful, it is not exciting, just one foot in front of the other, one step at a time, so slow, so weighted down with . . .
with what? with the cares of the world? with the hurts and the heartaches life inflicts? with the losses and the loneliness they inevitably bring? with the worries and the wounds others inflict? with sorrow over events surrounding me that I cannot control? with the burdens I choose to carry by refusing to lay them down? not willing to leave them behind? not willing to hand them over? or unwilling to share them with others?
I confess – in my heart I am a runner, running great distances, overcoming great obstacles, ascending tall mountains, feeling the freedom of the wind and the joy of my speed . . . but my body does not know this. My body walks, glued to the ground, when all the while, my spirit wants to soar. I am ready for that promise in Isaiah 40:29 & 31 which says,
“He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”
I want to soar with the eagles. The view is different from up there. I just know it.
“declares the Lord. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.’ ” (Isaiah 55:9)
But that view is not mine at the moment, so I don’t get to soar by sight, mine is to walk by faith and not by sight – even though it feels more like plodding and I don’t see progress. But then my view is so limited.
And in my view, I am a plodder. So I checked on the definition of the word “plod” and found that the definition of plod, as it turns out, is “to walk heavily/slowly under the weight of a burden.” So this burden thing is not my imagination – it is real. How many of us feel like we are carrying extra weight as we are walking by faith as we run this race we call our lives?
That must be why Hebrews 12:1 tells me to, ” . . . throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us (me) run with perseverance the race marked out for us (me).”
Maybe that’s why 1 Peter 5:7 tells me to “Cast all your (my) anxiety (cares) on God because He cares for you (me).”
I don’t have to carry this extra weight, these heavy burdens. It is my choice. Jesus made an offer in Matthew 11:28-30 to anyone and to everyone who was willing. To any and to all of us plodders, trudging wearily through life, Jesus issued this wonderful invitation saying,
“Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
King David knew this secret, that we don’t have to bear our burdens alone. He said in Psalm 68:19,
“Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens.”
King David knew that we could throw off everything that hinders us in our race, he knew we have been invited to cast all our cares on God, he knew that it is God who will never leave us nor forsake us, but instead, it is God who will walk with us and in so doing will daily bear our burdens.
This is wonderful news for a plodder like me, who longs to be a runner with wings, who wishes to be a soarer with the eagles. David understood. He said something else very revealing in Psalm 18:33 when he praised God saying,
“You make my feet run as fast as those of a deer, and You help me stand on the mountains.” (Contemporary English Version)
Another translation says, ” . . . He causes me to stand on the heights.” Just what a plodder like me longs for! A view from the heights! The feeling of freedom running as swiftly as a deer would bring.
But I must run my race, literally walk/plod my race, without that view. Why? Because I don’t run this race for myself but for my Heavenly Father. And He desires that I do as it says in 2 Corinthians 5:7,
“For we walk by faith, not by sight.” (I’m noticing it says walk not run.)
“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6)
“Abram believed (had faith in) the Lord, and He credited it to him as righteousness.” (Genesis 15:6)
So I guess it’s faith that’s important, not sight? It is by faith that I walk on each day. It is by faith I do what Paul talks about in Philippians 3:12-14 when he says,
” . . . I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
I am told to press on, I wonder if that includes or involves plodding? persistently, painstakingly, purposefully, persevering – plodding toward the goal. Plodding is not pretty, it is not graceful. Maybe if I would remember each day, to throw off what hinders, cast off my cares and take up Jesus’s yoke, my plodding walk of faith would look a little lighter.
In any case, I do have the assurance that one day my faith walk will be a joyous run without weariness and then a soaring on wings like the eagles. In the meantime I am told,
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9)
“Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him.” (James 1:12)
it is for me to persevere, to plod on in faith, knowing it is God who bears my burdens, it is my Heavenly Father who is preparing me through all this plodding, to one day go on the high places He has in store for me –
until then, I will persevere, I will plod on . . . in faith, by faith, with faith
sincerely, Grace Day