To read from the beginning of the series click HERE.
By Karen Pullano
As it happened, I started doing a 21-day gut cleanse diet when I was fairly new to the treadmill. (We should definitely have a riveting discussion of gut flora and healthy bacteria some other time. 😉 ) Basically, the diet consists of vegetables and a little meat and more vegetables; little to no grains at all. I was feeling pretty good, if slightly hungry, but didn’t think much of it as I got on my treadmill about five days into the cleanse.
I knew the minute I started running that I would never make it to the end. I felt weak in my bones. I wasn’t properly fueled and, grace notwithstanding, my simple human body couldn’t do it. Even though I was rested, dressed in comfortable running clothes, and outfitted with top of the line running sneakers, I was weak and exhausted from the start because I had nothing in the tank to draw strength from. I was prepared in many ways, just not the most important way.
I think there is truly only one way you can prepare yourself for suffering. Taking the time and making the effort to grow in relationship with God now, will give you His strength to draw on in times of crisis (not to mention the awesomeness of simply being in a relationship with God!). I don’t want to mislead you into thinking that Loving God will keep you from suffering. To the contrary, suffering is suffering and it hurts, just like running will still hurt no matter how well prepared I am. When trials come, the temptation will be to seek any manner of worldly comforts and distractions, but those things will never truly walk you through the suffering step by step. In fact, they will more likely deceive you and keep you from seeing clearly. A relationship with God will set you up for success ahead of time.
Building any relationship takes an investment of yourself.
Draw near to the Lord, getting to know Him and His Word. Let yourself be truly and deeply loved by Him in the sacraments. See and understand your deep need for Him and seek Him. Storms must come in this fallen world, but recognizing your deep need for God is the beginning of Wisdom. Together you will weather whatever comes your way.
The afflicted shall eat and be satisfied; those who seek the LORD will praise him– may your hearts live forever! (ps 22:26)
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