Power walking is my favorite exercise. My body tires easily from running, but I have the endurance for walking at a steady and rapid pace. When Pumpkindoodle was an infant, most of my “baby weight” slid off my hips due to daily power strolls. Now that my girl is four and has a sauntering stride, my favorite exercise is a thing of the past….until today.
I borrowed a double stroller (It is the type where the “big kid” can stand on the back), strapped in the kids, put the leash on the dog and went forth briskly. At first, all four of us were enjoying our time together. Pickle waved at every dog we passed and Pumpkindoodle, while holding a homemade paper plate steering wheel, narrated our trek. “You’re doing some good exercising Mommy. Exercising is so good for us.” And on she went.
After the mile mark, I began to pant and my stamina waned. It’s not every day I push a 50- pound package on wheels in sweltering heat while walking a dog. And, let me just add that double strollers…they aren’t so easy to maneuver. As my panting turned to wheezing I remembered two separate messages about all things being possible with God. The first one was delivered by my pastor last Sunday and that very same evening a portion of a book I read dealt with that same theme. So to keep myself amused I took some liberties with that phrase and let my imagination run wild.
If I prayed for strength and the ability to sprint six miles and then attempted to do so while chanting “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength”, someone, would have had to scrape me off the pavement as Pickle waved bye-bye and Pumpkindoodle, reviewed the events with the EMT.
In my opinion, what the phrase, “With God, All Things are Possible…” really means is that all things that God wills for us or calls us to do are possible. That said, keeping those ten commandments…possible. Not blowing my top when aggravated…possible. Demonstrating patience when the mercury is high, lines are long, and children are whining…possible. Really, because that one is tough? Tough indeed, but possible.
The flip side to that is being able to abstain from certain activities or desires is also possible through the power that comes only from the blood of Christ. Being content to live in a modest two-bedroom apartment in order to reduce debt is possible. Not buying those cute little shoes that match your new dress but would blow the budget…possible. Leaving the place you call home to make a new one thousands of miles away…possible.
Every heartache, disappointment, rejection, loss, irritation, and slap-in-the-face can be endured. And not just endured, but joyfully endured. The joy comes not from the situation. No one I know says “Oh joy” after she’s been thrown up on (physically or verbally), unless the tone she says it in is laced with sarcasm. The joy comes not from the trial, but from knowing that each trial that I go through with Christ will make me more like Him. Now, trials I try to go through alone, those just make me bitter and lead to more difficulties. But the ones that bring me to my knees and make me cry out to my Father for help, those are the ones that bring me closer to Jesus. They help me to understand him more and love him more and desire him more. And there exists the joy. And that joy, which is built in hope, is mine for the taking. So I reach my tired hand toward it, because grasping it tightly, is possible.
I’m glad in God, far happier than you would ever guess—happy that you’re again showing such strong concern for me. Not that you ever quit praying and thinking about me. You just had no chance to show it. Actually, I don’t have a sense of needing anything personally. I’ve learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I’m just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I’ve found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am. Phillipians 4:10-13 The Message