Our journey through life, has on its road, many twists and turns, dips, potholes, gorgeous views, cloudy days, storms and sunshine. Along the way are dry deserts of seemingly nothing left to nourish us. Then grassy plains appear with sparkling streams and wide rivers that soothe our parched emotions, restoring again our strength that long ago faded. When courage is in place we set off again on our journey only to find mountains that, although beautiful to gaze upon, offer slopes perilous to climb. We feel our journey has ended; at the very least, we tell ourselves there is no need to try anymore.
Have you ever felt this way? Life can be so hard. I recently read a quote by Martin Luther King Jr. which led me to contemplate the roads we encounter all along life’s journey. He said, “If you can’t fly, then run, If you can’t run, then walk, If you can’t walk, then crawl, but whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward.” I thought about his inspiration to so many who were desiring peace and equality. His speech in Washington D.C. in the 1960’s, where tens of thousands gathered to make their voices heard, remains carved in stones of history and etched in hearts that are often weary from life’s journey. Martin Luther King, Jr experienced many trials as he travelled with those who were down trodden and void of hope.
There is another man who became familiar with every trial that any of us has ever experienced. The man is Jesus, God’s own Son, both man and God, who left Heaven to live as a man on earth. He discovered the mighty lure of temptation. He felt the elation of crowds cheering him on, and the pain of rejection when even those closest to Him ran away in fear, refusing to be identified with Him. He, too, in choosing to know what we endure along life’s journey, subjected Himself to pain and struggle, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. He knew great joy when all was going well. He laughed with friends, relished the deep love of his mother and father, and also knew distress and sorrow such as we will never feel even on our most depressing of days. He felt it all. Therefore, knowing our pain, He lifts us up with His own courage that we may have all the strength we need to keep looking ahead. That is why Paul could say in Philippians 3:13-14, “…I focus on one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead. I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the Heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.”
You are never alone in your journey, although in the midst of pain, it can feel that way. Most often, there are brothers and sisters in Christ who can be turned to in times of need, but even if no human comfort can be found, make a choice for your own good — choose to keep looking up, for there you will find all the strength and peace you need. Jesus is your ultimate refuge and strength. He has personally felt every temptation and sorrow that has ever invaded you. May your eyes stay on Him today and tomorrow and the day after, and may you be blessed with everything you need to get through anything at all.