I pushed it. I knew it. In fact, I set out to do it.  Where is the new boundary? Where does ability meet limit? How much can I now endure? Excitement over healing-in-progress collides with realities of the “in progress.” But I had to know. So I pushed. And I told him. My physical therapist smiled and simply said, “I was waiting to hear that.” He knew I would push. “And it’s a great thing that you did.”

The pushing brought old pain back. And rather than strengthening exercises, he spent time adjusting, pressing, and loosening the tightened areas. “It’s normal to have these set-backs.” He knew what I was just learning. I hadn’t ruined anything; he was expecting it. I thought I had undid his work, instead I was fulfilling the normal process of healing and strengthening. He just didn’t warn me that I would.

I think God is like that with us. We tentatively peek at the new boundaries as we grow and learn and stretch. Toe digging in sand, we wonder what it would be like to run over there with faith-filled abandon. Then the sun breaks over the horizon, the oranges and pinks shifting to the blues of daylight. And we take off.  Over the hills, through the glades, pushing our selves. Ignoring the sweat on our brow and the strain in the muscles, we see where this new lesson takes us.

And we stumble. With stubbed toe and bleeding knee, we turn to Him, thinking we have failed. He smiles, happy that we pushed. Instead of consternation, His eyes sparkle as He whispers, “I want you to push. I want you to grow and strengthen. Do it again. And again. Keep doing it.”

Suddenly the set-back is not that at all. The bleeding knee is a badge of honor that we trusted enough to run with abandon the path illuminated before us, that we trusted His guidance, took the bait, and darted over the hills to see what the next horizon revealed. Where we see failure, He sees faith.

Bandage up that knee, ice the stubbed toe…and start plotting your next run. For the life of faith is one with exhilaration as we trust Him more and more, laying aside every encumbrance that we may breathlessly embrace the adventure.

Image by Dave Dyet

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