May 15, 2006Find joy today

“I’m a good runner if I run on flat ground,” I told the Lord today on my morning run. I lamented the French hills as I huffed. I wished my lungs could take all the up-up-up.

“You need the hills, Mary,” He said.

“No I don’t. I don’t like them. Hills hurt.”

“I send you hills so you can learn endurance, so that when you run on the flat ground, you’ll be able to go farther, so that when you face another hill, you have hundreds of hill-conquering feats behind you and you won’t be afraid.”

Life is hills. I may not like running them. I may huff and sputter and walk, but I need them. The key, as God is teaching me, is to keep running forward, keep pressing on. I learn from hills. My lungs get stronger, my legs better equipped to climb. Sure, I’d rather it be smooth, easy, happy. But I’d never grow. Never learn the beauty of tenacious endurance.

So I thanked God for the hills today as I scaled them one by one. Thanked Him for loving me up those hills, for giving me strength, for holding me when I feel I can’t climb another one.

“Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.” James 1: 2-4, MSG

Enjoy those hills!