How to Keep Going When You’re Weak and Weary…

Great Wall 3

Beth’s view of the Great Wall

My friend, Beth, who lives in China recently ran a race on the Great Wall. I know…cool, right?

A few days after the race Beth and I talked and she told me about her amazing experience.

According to Beth, foot races on the Great Wall are incredibly challenging because of the stairs involved. Many parts of the Great Wall have uneven footing and most of the stairways are uphill and very steep.

As Beth neared the end of her race a long and seemingly unrelenting set of stairs loomed in the distance. Already tired, she wondered how she was going to be able to conquer yet another uphill passage way in order to get to the finish line.

Putting one foot in front of the other Beth kept going and as she drew close to the intimidating passage, God drew close to her.

“Look behind you,” He said.

At first Beth wasn’t sure that was a good idea. After all, conventional wisdom tells us not to look behind but to focus on what’s before us, to keep our eyes on the task ahead.

But God persisted, “Look behind you.”

Great Wall 2Carefully, while still moving forward, Beth turned her head to see what was behind her and what she saw was breathtaking.

“There was so much beauty,” Beth told me. “I had to stop and take it in.”

As Beth took a moment out of her race to revel in the beauty of the mountains and the view of the Great Wall that stretched behind her, God continued to speak to her heart by showing her how far she’d come and by reminding her that He was with her in the past, that He would be with her in the challenge that waited ahead, and that He was with her right now, in the moment, even as she paused to rest and savor His creation.

I AM was with her in the past, in the present, in the future. The great I AM who is always with us.

I am so thankful Beth shared this story with me because it resonates with my heart as well.

Personally, my uphill battle isn’t a race on the Great Wall of China. (Thank goodness!) It’s finishing my book, raising a family, homeschooling my kids.

There are so many times when I look at what’s before me, when I strain my eyes to see the finish line in the distance, when all I can see are rough and jagged stair steps waiting to be climbed.

Great Wall 1It’s easy to become discouraged. It’s hard to believe. It’s impossible not to wonder if I’ll ever make it. But just as Beth experienced the power and the presence of God in the midst of her uphill race, I can be confident that God is with me too.

When I look back at how far I’ve come to get to where I am today I see a road of trials but there is so much beauty too:

The decision to start writing again and the first draft of my book…

Spending five whole years at home with my girls…

The look on my daughter’s face when something she’s learning clicks for the very first time…

When we choose to run with God there will always be beauty along the way. Gobs of it, in fact. Breathtaking beauty that is worth stopping, worth pausing to look back for. And in this beauty there are countless reminders of God and His provision and love.

Yes, it’s important to keep our fixed on the task that lies before us.

Yes, it’s important to stay present, to savor and appreciate the moment of now.

But it’s also important to look back, to look for the beauty in the midst of trials, to remember the God who runs with us.

He is with us in the past. He’ll be with us in every challenge that lies ahead. He is the great I AM of now. He sprinkles beauty, adventure, provision and love into every race we run, every mountain we climb and every journey He calls us to.

No matter the race you’re running these days…

Building a business…

Paying off debt…

Writing a book…

Teaching young minds…

Nurturing hearts…

Repairing a relationship…

Saving your marriage…

Starting a family…

Fighting a long term illness…

Remember who’s running with you.

Look behind you! In the past…God was there with His breathtaking beauty.

Look ahead! In the challenges that loom in the distance…God will be there with His everlasting strength.

Pause for a second in the right here, right now. In the present…God is here with His abundant grace.

Every race displays His glory.

Every climb declares His name.

Every step of the journey draws us closer to Him.

Closer to I AM who carries us through.

Many thanks to Beth for sharing her photos.

4 thoughts on “How to Keep Going When You’re Weak and Weary…

  1. Jennifer I love this! It brings in a different “angle” on thinking about challenges. It reminds me of the hymn, ” Our God, our help in ages past, our hope for years to come…” He who was faithful in the past will certainly continue. He wants us to remember that.

    • Yes and in remembering we are made stronger for whatever task is before us. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Myrna and for including the lines from this hymn. It is also so good to hear from you.

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