Pressing In

Day Three

I have pretty painful tendonitis in my achilles tendons on both heels.

It can catch me off guard if I stand after sitting for awhile or sometimes when I wake in the morning. Getting moving can be rough.

I asked the doctor about it and she advised that I stretch my legs—specifically, those tendons on each heel—regularly. And I do try.

But I find that I’ll go a few days without stretching, and then the pain is almost unbearable when I get up and start walking.

Today, I did a Zumba workout video. Afterward, as I was cooling down, it came time to stretch my heels.

As I bent to stretch my right heel and felt the first pressure, I winced. Pain shot up through my heel. But I continued the stretch.

As I leaned into it and held it, the pain eased. Then I relaxed for a few seconds and returned to the stretch. The second time, the stretch was a little bit easier and not as painful.

Somehow in the sweaty haze of post-Zumba stretching, God brought to mind our current situation.

I don’t have to describe for you the pain of my trial; so many of you have endured something similar. Some of you have lost loved ones to terrible disease. Some of you have lost employment or been a victim of crime. Some of you have weathered natural disasters, barely escaping with your life. Maybe you struggle with addiction or infertility, or your marriage is crumbling.

Whatever your particular struggle, I know it’s hard. I know it’s painful. And if you’re like me, you’d much rather ignore the reality of the pain.

But pressing in to the pain makes us stronger.

I think it’s just one of those great paradoxes of the Christian faith, but the Lord often uses pain to get our attention, to expose our sin, and to ultimately heal us.

Sure. It’s easier to deny reality. Sometimes it’s actually convenient to tiptoe around the real problem. And it’s more than comfortable to stay seated on the “sofa” of your life, protecting yourself from the pain that “walking” and “stretching” bring.

But without the “walking” and “stretching,” you will die.

When you “walk” and “stretch”—when you face the pain and press into it—you exercise your faith. You strengthen your faith muscles.

Which God uses to bring comfort and healing, obliterating your pain.

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:3-4, ESV, emphasis mine)