On a trip out west, my husband and I decided to go on a “beginner’s” hike. This three-mile trail seemed doable within our physical ability. Surely the heat, combined with being a couple of thousand feet above sea level, would not be too harsh.
We were wrong.
One hundred degrees felt far different in the mountains of Arizona compared with the air we were used to breathing. The rocks beneath us were jagged and shifty. Warning signs to watch for snakes kept my attention on potential danger surrounding our path. Water ran out, and the sun scorched our heads. Each passing step felt more difficult while we thought about the tacos awaiting us once we finished.
A seasoned gentleman came running by us with great ease. I’m sure we were giving him a hearty chuckle as he yelled, “Find the Push! You’re almost there!”
Life can feel like the terrain we faced on that hot, September day. The ground under our feet shifts, causing us to feel as though we may lose our footing at any moment. A punch to the gut catches us off guard as we try to maneuver through a difficult season with work, relationships, and health concerns.
How can we find the push and keep going through a hard season?
Our gentleman friend had everything he needed to face the difficulties on the trek. Walking sticks kept him upright; his hat protected his head and plenty of water kept his body hydrated. Daily time in God’s Word gives our souls nourishment to prepare us for what lies ahead, while the full armor from our helmet of salvation to the shoes of peace helps us to stand strong.
In 2 Chronicles 20, King Jehoshaphat chose prayer instead of creating a battle plan for enemies closing in on Judah.
The king was shaken; they were surrounded on all sides, but he took no military action. He prayed telling the Lord, “We don’t know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” (2 Chronicles 20:12 NIV)
They waited to receive guidance from the Lord. God responded with a message of encouragement as the battle belonged to Him. All they had to do was stand firm and see His deliverance. This is good news for us! The battle we face belongs to the Lord, and He has not left us alone on the rough terrains we travel.
Paul had his own difficult path on the road to Damascus. As he was physically blinded, but he began to see. God used this hardship to draw Paul close to His presence. His goal was no longer to persecute believers, but to run alongside with them towards Christ Jesus.
The shift in his focus reminds me of Philippians 3:13-14: “Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
Paul was not looking behind at past mistakes, or even to successes when he followed the Lord’s leading. Paul reminded us of the prize we have awaiting us. His example reminds us that it’s worth the push to persevere all the way to the finish line where our Heavenly Father is cheering us on.
Now that we know how to prepare for the difficult seasons, we can remember to pray and press on, knowing we are all running alongside one another, finding the push and pressing on—until we hear our Heavenly Father say, “Well done.”
Question: At what point in your ministry did you need to “press on” when you faced challenging circumstances?
About Caris Snider
Caris Snider is a Christian Communicator who shares the hope of God through speaking, writing, coaching, and podcasting. She is the author of Anxiety Elephants 31 Day Devotional and Anxiety Elephants 90 Day Devotional for Tween Boys and Girls. She has two new books coming in 2023—There’s An Elephant on My Chest picture book, and Car Line Mom 100 Day Devotional. She shares from personal experiences of overcoming depression, anxiety, fear, and shame. Caris desires to help people of all generations see their value and worth through the eyes of the Lord to grow in their faith and mental health.