On a recent 20-mile mountain bike ride on the local trails near my home, I realized something. It’s not supposed to be easy.
A few months back I had ridden the same loop but in the opposite direction. At one point I met up with some other riders who showed me the way. I hadn’t ridden that path yet and was at a fork in the trail with no clue which to take. Luckily the riders knew which path to take and they invited me to follow them. So I did.
When we got to the destination that I had set for myself they continued on their ride. As they departed, one of them gave me some advice, “Go the opposite direction next time, it’s easier.”
That sounded like a good idea, because I was totally exhausted and I was only half way done.
I took their advice and this time, I went the opposite direction. Guess what? It wasn’t easier! In fact, because I had the expectation that it would be easier, it actually made it harder.
Every time I had to get off my bike and push it up a long steep hill, I thought to myself, “This is supposed to be easier!” But it wasn’t, because it’s the same loop and the same terrain, just backwards.
At one point I stopped, took in the beauty of my surroundings, enjoyed the solitude, and prayed, “God, what are you trying to teach me here?”
The next thought that entered my mind was, “It’s not supposed to be easy.”
I realize that the rider didn’t intentionally try to deceive me, but he did. And there is a notion in Western thinking that encourages us to pursue “easy”.
And that’s the point. We are deceiving ourselves if we believe that it’s supposed to be easy. Nothing is easy! In fact, without resistance and without obstacles we atrophy.
In God’s word we are taught to “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
James 1:2-4 NASB1995
So, the next time someone says, “take it easy” or tells you it’s supposed to be easier than it is, don’t listen. Our difficulties make us stronger!
Press on into the headwinds of difficulty, you can do it. Don’t give up. Never surrender. Finish what you started.
Lord, help me to embrace your truth in difficult times. I need your encouragement to continue on. Help me to press on, despite the obstacles and headwinds I face. I trust that you are making me stronger through it all. Amen