As I walked along the beach, I opted to take my chances at being chased by the waves. It was too cold to get wet and my shoes were already a bit damp. With the tide high, my best option was to get as close to the water as possible. The sand is packed so much better there. It is bearable to walk. You can develop a rhythm on the packed sand. It just wasn’t always possible to walk on it. Sometimes the waves washed so close it was best to leap into the deep, thick sand. It was a dance I participated in over and over.
You don’t move very fast in the thick sand. You don’t make a lot of progress for the amount of work you put into it. You work really hard for not a lot of results. As I trudged along, I noticed other footprints. Others had walked these same difficult paths before me. Why would they do that? Why would anyone choose this difficult path? Maybe they were avoiding the tide too. Maybe they wanted to stay far away from the cool waters of the ocean. Or maybe they were working on getting stronger.
We wouldn’t want to choose the more difficult path, it doesn’t seem to make sense. Well, it doesn’t make sense unless it is part of our journey. As I picked up one foot, then the other – I made my way through each deliberate step and noticed something. I noticed I was purposely slowed down. It gave me every chance to look around and see what beauty was surrounding me. It gave me the opportunity to slow enough to enjoy the sound of the waves. I was able to hear the birds sing. I was slowed just enough that my senses were heightened to the beauty surrounding me. I also felt like this was a way to get stronger. Since each step took such determination, surely my calf muscles were getting a workout unlike any other. I felt sure I would find out when I got up the next morning – feeling the unusual push and pull of footsteps. Mostly, the difficult path was teaching me there was value in the challenge.
When our paths are difficult, may we take the time to slow down and look around. God is with us. Notice the beauty even in the challenge. You are getting stronger. One step at a time, move closer to where God would have you to be.
suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.
Photos included in Devotions are captured by David Cain – The Cain Gallery. Photos are available for sale by contacting The Cain Gallery