A Brief Parable of a Parabolic Distance Runner...
Say you were out on a long, very hilly run in the country.
And, say, you were staring up at a huge long hill you were needing to run up in order to get home, towards the end of your long run.
There are three primary ways a distance runner faces such adversity and imminent anguish.
These three approaches to facing painful obstacles are, not surprisingly, in “lock-step” with how a Follower of Jesus will face excruciating mountains to climb, to get Home.
Can you figure out what the three possibilities are, in the parable above, and in the life and Life of a Disciple of Jesus, as we “follow in His steps” (Rom.8:28-29, 1Peter 2:18-21, 4:1-2)
Below are the answers, after you’ve prayerfully stretched your heart to clear-mindedly, specifically answer—if you want…
1. You COULD be in such good shape already—that you don’t notice and don’t care about hills anymore. YES, this can happen. “The full measure of the stature of Christ” (Eph.4:11-16) IS our Calling. IT IS. Do you Believe the Bible regarding this? We must. It’s NOT that “we’ll believe it when we see it”—but that “we will see it when we believe it.”
2. If you’re not in good enough condition to not feel the pain—then focus on the Horizon. Look to the end and see only the end, not the current pain. Without Vision, the people cast off restraint, and pain.
3. If you’re not in good enough condition, spiritually or physically to even stay focused on the Horizon and the Vision and the Dream to carry you on Wings up the painful hill—then FOCUS ONLY ON THE NEXT STEP and the NEXT TREE or FENCE or FLOWER PATCH. And upon arriving, focus on the next, and the next. The discipline of heart and mind and simplicity WILL get you Home… “I don’t know about the bigger goal and I can’t face the mountain and its pain as Joshua and Caleb and Jesus and Paul did, but I CAN do the next thing Right for Jesus. I can take the NEXT step in holiness and faith, and then I’ll face the next one after that, and then the next!”
What we CAN NOT do, is panic, whine, quit, compare, or despair. If we’ve not prepared ourselves well enough to be Spiritually FIT (#1) to face what comes, that would be a mistake. But, there is tomorrow for that. TODAY, we can look to the horizon as we face pain, to JESUS’ PLAN and HOPE and the “end of the Book” where the Conquering King WINS! And press on with our hearts set ablaze with HIS VISION, regardless of the pain of this step in front of us. And, lacking the Preparation to live that way, we CAN live in the discipline of the moment—ONLY allow Love Joy Peace Patience Faithfulness Self-control, Holiness, Kindness, Self-sacrifice, and the Life and Loves of Jesus into our next step. And allow His CHARACTER to guide us up the mountain and its pain, one step at at time, until we ascend and crest His Holy Hill and run downhill into His arms. : )