I thought I was prepared. I’d been walking most every day, not just to lose weight (which I didn’t) but to make sure my stamina was up for what I knew lay ahead.
That word does not normally conjure up a need for stamina, but I knew this one would, as we were traveling to Italy. Having learned from an earlier such trip, I knew a lot of walking would be involved. Two things I didn’t prepare for was my added years of life and uneven pavement.
I’ve grown spoiled in my ten years of life back in the States, where my greatest challenge is to take the stairs from the parking garage to the library. Roads are smooth, sidewalks are wide. The reality is — I don’t get out much.
This vacation didn’t start on a slow pace. Even before we joined the tour, our little family walked 20,000 steps in one day! I could hardly move the next, and we were heading to the Vatican and Colosseum.
That’s when it started — a pain in the heel of my right foot. A heel spur that has not caused me any problems until now made itself fully known throughout our trip. I survived and persevered, but it taught me many lessons.
- Feet are important parts of our bodies, and we need to show them respect by wearing good shoes, keeping our weight down and not taking them for granted.
- Walking here is not walking everywhere. Roads are different. The more ancient the city, the more ancient the walkways.
- Walking on level ground is much different from walking on uneven stone pavements.
- Just as a buffalo pushes through the storm, we can push through pain. I didn’t let my foot pain stop me from enjoying one minute of my time. The more I walked, the less the pain, so I pressed on.
As I experienced this unpleasant reality, I began to think how it related to life. I could look at it as a hardship and complain, be grumpy or stay in the hotel, or I could do what the writer of the book of Hebrews suggests:
Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? … God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. “Make level paths for your feet,” so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.*
How pitiful my hardship was compared to the great suffering many Christians endure for the cause of Christ. Mine wasn’t even related to my faith…or was it? If I had allowed my attitude to sour, how would those in our group look at me? How would they look at my relationship to the God I claimed to serve?
How we face any of life’s hardships, large or small, gives witness for Christ. I pray that my efforts to press on reflected positively for the sake of my Lord. While I seek to walk on more leveled paths in these post-vacation days, I pray that the Lord will continue to strengthen my feet for all paths that lie ahead.
The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights.*
How are your feet feeling these days? Strong and ready to take on the smooth and rocky roads of life? Let the Lord be your strength and press on for His glory.
Grace and Peace
*Hebrews 12:7, 10-13 (NIV).
*Habakkuk 3:19 (NIV).