God and Treadmills
by Ryan Duncan, Crosswalk.com Culture Editor
May the Lord direct your hearts into God's love and Christ's perseverance.
2 Thessalonians 3:5
Ever since I moved to Richmond I’ve acquired a taste for working out. There’s just something addicting about going to the gym after a long day at the office and pounding a treadmill until you feel the moisture on your forehead. If I don’t get my usual workouts, I tend to go stir crazy. That’s why I can’t stand January. After every New Year’s celebration, like clockwork, the gyms become crowded with people who have resolved to become healthier.
Because of the crowds, it becomes harder to get equipment, find parking spaces, or do any of my usual exercises. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m glad people are trying to get healthier and I encourage anyone who wants to start working out to give it a try, but I still get frustrated because I know that within a month most of these people will be gone. Exercise requires a lot of commitment and perseverance, and while a lot of people have resolved to live better, when the hard part comes they give up. You could say the same thing applies to faith. I cannot tell you how many times God has revealed himself in my life through his grace, his power, or even his sense of humor. But despite all these moments, it’s still so easy for me to doubt, to get angry with God and wonder if he has a plan, or if he’s even there at all.
The book of James is useful in moments like this, and even offers some encouragement for when we’re tempted to doubt.
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds,because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.” – James 1:2-8
Spiritual workouts are no different from our physical ones. If you want to run a marathon, you first have to run a mile, and if you want to become a tool for Christ, you have to trust him first. So don’t be afraid of trials and challenges, but instead embrace them as opportunities to mature in your faith. It won’t be easy, and odds are you’ll probably have to endure some difficult and painful experiences, but in the end you’ll look back and know you’re stronger because of it.
Intersecting Faith and Life: Apply God to your daily life through the excercise of prayer and service.