The Power of a Dream
Some people love to exercise. I am not one of those people. I would do just about anything other than exercise. However, I decided a few years ago that I should be exercising more regularly for my own health. My neighbor and I started to meet for early morning walks or workout sessions in her basement. After about a year, we decided to mix it up a bit and we joined a gym around the corner from our homes. It’s a little different than a typical gym, as I take one class a week and the class is led by a coach, so someone is always telling me what to do…good for slackers like me who would just stretch all day if given the choice. Each class is different and is built to either develop strength, power or endurance. For me, the endurance days are the hardest. These are the days with long stretches on the treadmill, lots and lots of reps with the weights, and extended rowing sessions. Halfway through, I just want to stop, take a water break, chat with a friend, leave early, anything but finish the workout. But…it is in the midst of these longer, tough sessions that endurance is built, and I actually do become stronger and healthier over time.
Life can be hard. It is really easy to want to quit when life gets to be too much. Joseph lived a life that was filled with tough circumstance after tough circumstance. It would have been understandable for him to decide to quit and walk away from the Lord after he was thrown in a cistern, after he was sold into slavery, after he was unjustly put in jail…but he didn’t. In fact, he lived in such a way that a man who didn’t know the Lord “noticed this and realized that the Lord was with Joseph.” Wow! Do I live in such a way that when life is good, people can notice and realize that the Lord is with me…let alone when life is not good?
“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete needing nothing.” James 2-4
We want to be fully developed, perfect and complete. That sounds great! But, we won’t ever get there by giving up on the plans the Lord has for us. We only get there by going through tough stuff and choosing to finish. My body will not get stronger if I only walk for a minute on the treadmill and do two push-ups. I have to finish the workout. As one of the coaches says, “what doesn’t challenge you, can’t change you.” Real growth happens because of change.
So be challenged. Stay the course. You will be changed, just like Joseph. Maybe somewhere along the way, someone will notice and realize that the Lord was with you. That is being perfect and complete.