“Ouch, my knees,” has been my cry lately especially when I am stumbling up the stairs at home. Have I mentioned that I am training for a half marathon? No, this isn’t my first – I have done many half marathons, but none in the last 3 years. All it took was my new running buddy to instill a little sense of adventure into me. She is tackling a full marathon while I at the ripe young age of 42 am setting my site on a half marathon. I started training in July, and after hitting a 10 miler a few weeks ago, I have not been quite the same.
This past weekend, after resting my knee for a week, I hit the pavement again. It felt great. My strength had returned and my knee seemed to be cooperating once again. Immediately after the run, we headed off to church. Sitting in the car for our 20 minute drive, I realized that my knee was still not quite 100%. Ugh. It was so frustrating and I felt old. Why does this happen to me? Am I really just too old for this? It was beginning to seem a little hopeless.
I have always aspired to be that 75 year old woman out jogging in the morning. I want to have energy and stamina even at the end of my life. I want to live a full life – live it until the very end. I always hear about the 70 year old marathon runners – AMAZING! I want to be that person! So, this injury has really upset me. It has placed this dead end right splat in the middle of my road. I had great plans God – why are you stopping me with this injury?
This morning, I was reading scripture and guess what my eyes wandered right to? No kidding.
Hebrews 12:11-13 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.
My response was, “All right God, what are you trying to tell me?”
I delved into commentary and soon came to realize just what God was assuring me. After feeling sorry for myself and all my pain, I realized that the disciples should be my role model. They were forced to walk many miles for days upon days. Can you imagine what that meant to their bodies? Can you imagine the knee pain and IT Band problems that they had? Can you imagine the pain that they suffered just to spread God’s news? I doubt any of them were able to run off and get an MRI or chat with a doctor or trainer about their pain. And God have mercy on them if they did choose to grumble about their knee issues because I am positive it would have been met with a lot of eye rolling. Pretty much everyone they were with was feeling the pain. It wasn’t singled out on any one person.
My own pain was intense, and mine came from a measly 10 mile run. Imagine if I had to continue 10 mile runs everyday for days upon days maybe even months at a time.
This curse of not being able to run due to my knee pain is not a curse – it is a gift. God is showing me that pain comes with the territory. Pain is part of the process. He wants me to persevere through this pain and set my eyes on the goal.
Barnes’ commentary on these verses says this, “The hands fall, and the knees tremble, and the heart sinks within us. But confidence in God, and the hope of heaven, and the assurance that all this is for our good, will reinvigorate the enfeebled frame, and enable us to bear what we once supposed would crush us to the dust. A courageous mind braces a feeble body, and hope makes it fresh for new conflicts.”
This isn’t just about running, it is about my mindset. Running gets me ready for the race of life. Running allows me to see that perseverance and hope will pay off. Running allows my body to suffer, yet my mind perseveres.
You may not be a runner, but my guess is you have suffered injury in some way – whether it is physical or mental. God wants us to see that He will help us battle through even the toughest of fights. He will lift us up through our mental and physical pain and guide us into perseverance. He wants us to conquer the pain, by reaching out to Him.
Don’t give in to whatever is setting you back in life. Don’t give up. Never lose hope. With God you can overcome anything.