They say that working out, when you haven’t done so in awhile, will make your muscles sore.
Oh, I’ve worked out before, and I knew the potential consequences; but this time… this time was different! My body felt like it was on fire. Every muscle was stiff, every joint felt enflamed, and I couldn’t so much as even lift a finger without most parts of my anatomy screaming out in pain.
All of these potential side effects are considered to be perfectly normal and to be expected; and I was well aware of this risk before making the decision to chose the longer, more difficult trail. This, of course, leads us the the big question: If I knew I was going to be in pain and that it might last a few days, why would I even consider such a workout? Am I simply a glutton for punishment?
The answer to that last question is a great, big “NO”! Normally I avoid things that are uncomfortable. This time, however, even though I knew about the potential way I might feel, I jumped at the chance to go for a hike.
Because I knew the potential side effects were worthwhile investments into my overall health. Because I had been shut up for so long from the colds of winter, and I knew my body needed to get out and move.
There was one other reason I didn’t let the knowledge of the side effects bother me: I knew they would be temporary. They would last a week at the most. Again, I considered it a small sacrifice as compared to the greater good.
As I was sitting on the couch this morning, nursing my sore body as I talked to God about the upcoming day, I admit that I found myself complaining a bit. Why is it that something with a good outcome has to be accompanied by suffering?
Wait. Isn’t that what God tells us about the trials that we are required to endure? “We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.” (Romans 5:3-5 NLT). James says the same thing in different words: “For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.” (James 1:3 NLT)
In other words, just like my stiff and painful body helps me to build up muscle strength, endurance and general good health, the trials God permits me to go through help me develop endurance, strength of character and a confident hope of Salvation! And if you take James 1:3 at face value, this may be one of the only ways our patience can be grown! In the same way I gladly accepted the potential side effects of the steep trail in order to get myself back into good physical condition, we can gladly accept the trials in order to allow these good things to grow in us!
The good news is this: Although I just have to tough out my sore body, I have Someone who will walk the trials with me, who will carry me through. I have Someone who loves me dearly, so dearly that He has given me His Spirit. I have Someone who promises this:
“Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me. You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings…” (Psalms 23:4-5 NLT)
Sometimes we have to suffer a bit for the greater good. Try to remember that the next time you find yourself walking through the valleys of life.
And try to remember that as well if your body screams out in pain because of the physical workout you did yesterday! It’s all for the greater good!
In His love,