My leg muscles screamed in protest as I gasped for breath and pulled myself upward to the next rest bench on the mountain trail. I promised myself, “Girlfriend, you WILL be in better shape next year!” Can you identify?
For several years, our family of four participated in a volksmarch, a German term for people’s walk. Beginning at the southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail near Helen, Georgia, we walked only five kilometers, but with steep inclines, the distance seemed much further. At the finish line, with relief and perspiration, we accepted our medals as family tradition mementos.
Do you have days that feel like an arduous walk up a mountain while others resemble a leisurely stroll? I do. On those troublesome days, challenges can feel like rocks in our backpack, slowing progress and discouraging us.
The verb walk in the Bible describes the daily life and behavior of one who has surrendered her life to Christ.
Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him.Colossians 2:6 ESV
Paul prayed believers would “walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God” (Colossians 1:10 ESV). How can we navigate life’s challenging times as believers and continue to bear fruit? Consider the following:
Three Ways to Navigate Difficult Days
1. Look for markers in the Bible.
On the Appalachian Trail, arrowed signs pointed the way and prevented error when undergrowth obscured forks in the trail. The Bible is like a collection of markers, guiding us in God’s way. Bible study steadies and steers us and prepares us to face the trials of mountain trail days. Writing and decorating a verse may help you commit it to memory.
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.Psalm 119:105 ESV
2. Lean on the Lord in prayer.
My walking stick worked like a lever to push me up the mountain when weak muscles faltered. Communication with God in prayer strengthens us when we meet roadblocks and encounter difficulties. Having an ongoing prayer conversation with God throughout the day helps us enjoy His presence and yields His peace and wisdom to bolster us to the next level on the journey. He knows the future, and we can trust Him with today and tomorrow.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.Philippians 4:6 ESV
3. Listen to trustworthy Christ followers.
Although I read the signs and used a walking stick, I also needed my family’s encouragement, and at some points, a literal push over the next ridge. Truth. Asking for help can be humbling, yet other Christians can remind us of biblical truth and the fact that God is always with us, even on hard days.
Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.1Thessalonians 5:11 ESV
How is your walk today? Perhaps printing the verses above on cards or typing them into a phone app will help in troublesome times. When a day’s journey feels like a steep mountain hike, turn the day into an adventure with God by searching for His direction in the Bible and in prayer as you seek encouragement from fellow hikers.
Now it’s your turn
What helps you on trying days?