Published on February 21st, 2014 | by Missy Lonsinger0
Hurdles are terrifying.
Hurdles are terrifying.
I’m scientifically qualified to say this because my dad is a track coach, and I’ve been around them since my early childhood.
They’re giant, unstable monstrosities that pop up in the middle of a race for no other purpose than to make life harder on the runner. The proper technique necessary to propel oneself over a hurdle is, at best, pretty intricate and, at worst, insanely difficult for those of us not blessed with gazelle-like agility. And, God forbid, any part of your foot grazes the hurdle as you’re leaping over it, because the entire structure will come crashing down and stop you from completing the race (…poor girl…).
Like I said, terrifying.
And yet, our lives are absolutely riddled with them.
Not the literal track and field obstructions, but obstacles that seem to pop up out of nowhere, at any given time, and attempt to drag us down and out of the already exhausting marathon that is life.
So what are we, as Christians, supposed to do when we face these hardships? How are we supposed to muster the strength to leap these bounds and still continue on with our life-long, test of endurance?
The “indomitability of the human spirit” is a lie, as it suggests some deep-rooted human trait that allows us to persevere through trials. The reality is that the only way we are to persevere through anything is by the indomitability of the Holy Spirit in us.
It seems the most natural thing in the world to depend upon our own strength and self-reliance or, as Solomon put it in Proverbs, “lean on our own understanding,” but it need not be. Although it’s not fun and may feel pretty uncomfortable, we have to get used to humbling ourselves before God and trusting in Him to get us through our afflictions, rather than looking to our own supposed indomitability.
When I was twenty years old, I was diagnosed with a life-altering, autoimmune disease. For three long, excruciating years, I struggled with trying to do everything I could to leap over, sneak around, and crash through that hurdle, but nothing I did seemed to work: I wasn’t strong enough to overcome that hardship.
It took God allowing me to literally be on the verge of death for me to finally let go of the pride and supposed strength I’d been clinging to and just fall into His arms; at which point, I glided over that hurdle with ease and a “peace which surpasses all understanding”.
Chances are, many of you have also gone through some absolutely atrocious catastrophes in your time, and the truth of life is, you will no doubt go through more before you die, but the important thing to remember is that it’s not up to you to be strong enough, agile enough, or smart enough to get over those hurdles by yourself; the only way to get through them is by remaining “strong in the Lord and in His mighty power”.
So if you’re currently struggling with a hurdle that’s fallen into your path, I’ll leave you with these three thoughts…
1) Everything that happens to us–yes, even the horrible stuff–is for our good, and God’s glory.
(“For [our earthly fathers] disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, that we may share His holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” – Hebrews 12:10-11)
2) Our cries for help are not falling on deaf ears: Christ has suffered too.
(“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” – Hebrews 4:15-16)
3) Even in the most dire of circumstances, we are not alone.
(“You are my servant, I have chosen you and not cast you off; fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” – Isaiah 41:9-10)