This morning I was making cookies and listening to a new book on tape. A story from that book spoke to me in such a deep and profound way. The author tells of a young pioneer girl being rescued from a stranded handcart company trying to go west far too late in the season. They had suffered immensely, starvation, exposure, and even death. The rescuers brought food and clothing, but they did not have the wagons to carry all of the surviving handcart members. Anyone who was able was required to walk next to the wagons carrying the sick. Several of the children decided to run in an attempt to get invited to ride in a wagon. One by one the children dropped out, and one girl remained determined in her course. The wagon driver asked her if she wanted a ride. When she replied yes, he took her hand, but instead swinging her up into the wagon, he signaled for the horses to speed up. A little confused, she ran for what she described as several miles, and in the running she thought for sure that this driver was the meanest person that she had ever met. Then just as her strength was about to give out, he scooped her up in a blanket, all warm from her exertion, and settled her into the base of the wagon. Later she realized that this driver had saved her from freezing; he had saved her life.
The story brought tears to my eyes as I saw myself as that little girl, running with all the strength I could muster, feeling for certain that any moment my legs were going to give out, wondering why He doesn't just pick me up and put me in the wagon. Then just as clearly as I saw that picture in my mind I heard words to accompany it, "I'm making you run to save your life."
Rarely has such a simple phrase so deeply impressed my heart, and I began to sob right there in my kitchen with my hands covered in cookie dough. Finally an answer, when I have been struggling, feeling so very inadequate and tired. A purpose to my running.
Why is it when we have already been knocked down that sometimes additional adversity comes? Why is it even when we are determined to do good and right, that we feel that we are being made to run to the point of exhaustion while others may ride in the wagon?
We hear the phrase, "Life isn't fair," and that supposed to make us feel better about injustices and inequality. But maybe "fair" isn't the point. Maybe God sees in us something He can cultivate, something that's worth extra expenditure of energy to achieve, and so He pushes us. He pushes us even though we want to give up, even though we may think He is mean. He pushes us right to our breaking point, so that we can see what we are made of, so that He can bring out something that may very well save our life in a spiritual sense.
That was my answer today, and it gave me some hope. It gave me a reason to refocus my running, to not think about giving up. Someday, He may scoop me up and let me ride for time in the wagon, but there will be additional hardships ahead. The journey is far from over. He knows that I'm not done running. So each of these experiences He gives me strengthens me, keeping me warm and ready for the next run.
Today I see a little bit more purpose in my suffering. If I can just keep this picture and feeling in my heart, the running will be so much easier. So I share this with you today, in hopes that it will create in you, you're own little vision, your own hope, your own feeling of purpose to the adversity you are facing. Don't drop out! Don't stop running, the running is what will save your life.
Questions To Ponder:
How is persevering through your trials making you a better person?
Story from Hafen, Bruce C. "A Contrite Spirit."