When I Can’t Go On
“When I called you answered me; you made me bold and stouthearted.” Psalm 138:3
Thank God it’s not my turn to lead today, I thought as I stared down at my muddy hiking boots. They didn’t feel like a part of my body, as if they were trudging through the wilderness on their own while my mind roamed free.
After two weeks of bushwhacking through the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, I was fit, but I didn’t feel strong. The terrain, the rain, the pace, all had drained everything from my 17-year old self. Gone were the dreams and excitement of being a “Vanguard” student who would win out against the grueling elements.
I lifted my leaden feet over the fallen log, but I didn’t clear it and I fell, headlong, into the brush. The crash didn’t alert my teammates up ahead and I lay face down in the leaf mold alone and closed my eyes. I am done. I can’t go any further.
This experience when I was young of coming to the end of my rope was the first time I felt such despair. Now in my fifties, I have been at that same place several times– the “I can’t go on” place.
It’s very real, not a product of weakness or laziness or wrong thinking. Life is just too hard, too painful.
What happened next in the wilderness has occurred each time I reach my limit: I got up. My teammates came back to check on me, but I stood up and started walking again.
Where does this resilience come from? I am not exactly sure.
I do have faith that God is real and helps us.
Lately my prayer of gratitude goes like this: “Thank you for having my back, Lord. I need you.”
I have changed my Bluebirds Always Fly tagline from “Sometimes life is hard…” to “Often life is hard”. The second part needs no alteration: “but God is always good.”
John Newton wrote a little known verse of his hymn Amazing Grace:
“The Lord has promised good to me, His word my hope secures; He will my shield and portion be, as long as life endures.”
Today is a day to go on!