Bootcamp is intentionally grueling. You are pushed physically, emotionally and physically. I once went through a fitness bootcamp. I woke up before the sun, fed my baby, dressed for a workout, chugged a smoothie and drove to the gym in the icy dark. I did this to get in shape.
I soon realized that bootcamp was not just about shaping up, and lasting changes would not happen overnight. Getting is shape was about building strength and endurance.
As anyone in the military would tell you, being strong means nothing if you can’t endure through the battle. You can work a half shift and receive half of a shift’s pay. You can eat half of a piece of cake and enjoy every crumb that you ate (and take in only half of the calories). But you can’t win half of a battle. You need to finish what is started and push through to victory. It's all or nothing with battles.
I learned about trudging a long time ago from a friend. She is not a complainer. She found a way to acknowledge the difficulties and obstacles that she always seemed to be facing. When I would greet her and ask her how she was, with pluck and a lifted chin she would proudly quip, “Trudging along.”
When I would greet her and ask her how she is, with pluck and a lifted chin she would proudly quip, “Trudging along.”
Her “trudging along” could have been explained in more words, if she chose. What she was saying was, “I have some struggles, I'm a bit weary because it seems to never end, but I know God is in it and I will keep going! Onward and upward, to victory!”
This always encouraged me! I wanted the same prize that she wanted! I wanted to keep going, despite the struggles. My boots felt heavy, but we were plugging along, moving ahead, step-by-step. We both had our eye on the prize described in Hebrews 12:1-3;
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
Over time, and many years later, I have grown to be an experienced trudger. I tried to run, but I have found that slow and steady truly wins the race. Besides, God is not in a hurry. Sometimes He wants us to act quickly and decidedly. But other times, He wants us to just keep going. Revelation 2:2 says“I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance.” He acknowledges our pushing through and persevering.
As a walker, I'm amazed by how the same terrain that I walk regularly can be vastly different from day to day. I have walked through snow storms, dodging plows in a foot of heavy snow, huddling under layers of down and fleece, snowflakes freezing on my eyebrows. I have walked on cool Autumn days when each step seems effortless and four miles seem like a five-minute Sunday stroll. I have downed two water bottles on scorching August days and returned home drenched in sweat. Even on consistently temperate Spring days, the same hill that I didn’t give thought to on a Monday may seem like a mountain by Friday.
Even on consistently temperate Spring days, the same hill that I didn’t give thought to on a Monday may seem like a mountain by Friday.
God is concerned about the process, about what we learn as we run.
While we may see the obstacle in our daily path as an isolated incident to be overcome, God does not. Romans 5:3-5 tells us, “We also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”
There is a much bigger picture. This verse is a flow chart: sufferings produce perseverance which produces character which produces hope. When we trudge, where are we headed? To hope. Romans 5:5 is translated in the NKJV as “Now hope does not disappoint (us).” Simply put, our sufferings lead us to a place of hope.
Simply put, our sufferings lead us to a place of hope.
“The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand.”
Many years ago, Winston Churchill gave a speech that inspires many people, even today; “Young men, never give up. Never give up! Never give up! Never, never, never, never, never, never!” Winston Churchill was a trudger. He understood the value of perseverance and that it was essential for victory.
Lace up your boots, my friend. God has great things for you. Hit the road.
For my dear friend, Lil.