I was out on one of my longer runs the other day, or at least what I call long, and because I had gotten bored, I decided to take a brand new route. I thought it would be exciting to run in areas and down streets that I’d never been on before. It would soon prove to be more challenging and torturous than exciting.
The specific route I chose, as are many routes in the Pittsburgh area, was riddled with steep inclines and unfathomable up-hills. Over the course of miles 3-6, I ran into five different uphill slopes, some long and steady, some short and steep. It seemed like just when I would reach the top of every hill, right around the corner there would be another one.
As I neared the beginning of the sixth mile I came around and sharp corner and as sure enough, there was a nasty incline, probably about five hundred meters long. By this time I was incredibly exhausted, but I managed to huff out an audible, “NO!” I was nearly ready to resign myself to walking, but I knew that persevering through this up-hill would make me a better runner.
That’s when the spiritual light bulb went off, and a lesson started forming in my head. I began thinking on the routes we run in our lives, and often times when we are brave enough to take a new road, or live on a new path that we never have before, we are often confronted with unexpected up-hills. In a season like this, it can seem like every time we turn a corner, we run into another up-hill slope. It’s at this point that we scream, “NO! Not another one. I really didn’t need another thing to go wrong today!” These seasons are rough, and can tire us out to the point of depression. But we know from scripture that as we persevere through the up-hills of life, God strengthens our character and our faith to become more like Him.
“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.” –James 1:12
“God works out all things for the good of those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose.” –Romans 8:28
“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” -2 Corinthians 4:17
Scripture is full of proof that God does not waste our up-hills. As I began to discover this truth in a new way, and as I finished my run, I called my girlfriend, Erin, right away. Not only is she the person I usually bother with these kinds of thoughts whether she likes it or not, but she has also been going through a season of extreme, unexpected up-hills of late.
If you are reading this, and feeling perhaps the same way I did on my run, or the same way that Erin has the last couple months, then take encouragement from the verses above that bleed the truth that God is using this season of up-hill living to strengthen you into a more fully devoted and loving Christ follower. As you navigate the up-hill seasons of life, be encouraged and get pumped, because those up-hills are “achieving a glory that far outweighs them all.”