If you have raced with runners and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses? If you stumble in a peaceful land, what will you do in the thickets of the Jordan? Jeremiah 12:5 HCSB
Recently, I have had a few friends who have experienced some pretty big trials. Ben Summers, of TRU Ball, the maker of archery releases and bow sights, just completed his first full Ironman Triathlon in Florida. The pain and exhaustion Ben endured increased throughout the race; it didn’t start out hard and get easy. That’s not the way things work. Each stroke, each push of the pedal, each stride was just a little tougher than the one before. Two other friends, Chris and Casey Keefer of the TV show, Backcountry Quest, just recently returned from a month-long adventure in Alaska. They shared with me how at one point, when things were at their seemingly possible worse, the situation went even further downhill to a point of almost complete desperation. In the end, however, Ben completed his Ironman and Chris and Casey safely returned from Alaska, albeit a good bit lighter.
Things can always be worse. No matter how bad things are right now, how hopeless the situation feels, it only requires a little thought to think about just how much worse they could be. This is not to make light of any situation or circumstance anyone reading this is going through right now. It could in fact be the biggest crisis of life you have ever faced until now. Chances are though; you will face a bigger one eventually. Having spent a number of years working with youth and college age students, I am no stranger to the major life issues they often deal with. I don’t have to think hard to remember my own time at that age. However, now that I am older, I think that if those were the biggest issues I had to deal with today I would be a lucky man. It seems as if the issues we face in life only grow in size and complexity as we grow older.
Jeremiah was complaining about the circumstances he was facing. In this case, Jeremiah, in the verses leading up to today’s, asks God, “Why me? When people all around, even the evil people, tend to prosper, why do I have it so hard? Why do they get it so good when I am the one that is faithful?” God responds to Jeremiah in verse five. God asks Jeremiah, “If you can’t hang with human runners, how are you going to keep up when the race is against horses? And furthermore Jeremiah, right now you have it pretty good overall, what are you going to do when things get really tough?” Things can always get worse. Times can always be tougher. There’s nothing like a little perspective from God.
So how do you make it through? When the situation you are facing now seems hopeless what do you do? First, put it in perspective and remember it could be worse. Second, know that at some point in your life you are likely going to face something even tougher and so whatever it is you are facing now is good practice for later on when you have to run against horses or are forced to enter the thicket. The good news is, you don’t have to run the race of enter the thicket alone. God can go too, right by your side.
Take comfort in these verses:
Jesus said, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling…The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Psalm 46:1-3, 7
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10
Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved. Psalm 55:22
Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7
But the Lord has become my stronghold, and my God the rock of my refuge. Psalm 94:22
When Ben completed his Ironman, he received not only a medal but also the honor of having done something only a small fraction of a percent of people will ever do. When Chris and Casey exited the Alaskan bush, they did so knowing they overcame tremendous odds and the first do what they did. By the way, Ben didn’t run his race alone and Chris and Casey didn’t enter the Alaskan wilderness alone. They took God along with them on their journeys. He saw them through. He can see you through as well.