When I first started training for Kilimanjaro, I thought Jeff and I would spend some quality time running together. Although I’m athletic, I’m not a runner, and Jeff had already been running regularly. A few times we’d run together and inevitably Jeff would get in front of me, then run backwards so he could see me, and shout “run through the pain!” which sounded about as encouraging as you’d expect from a Marines drill sergeant. Needless to say, for the sake of our marriage, I ran separately from Jeff.
In some ways, don’t tell him I said this, Jeff was right. I needed to run through the pain. I had knee problems and my lungs felt like they had collapsed, but I had to learn to keep pushing forward despite the pain. On Kilimanjaro if I had stopped when I was I pain, I wouldn’t have made it to the top. I wouldn’t have even completed day one. But when our picture was taken at the summit and we had completed the journey, I had a great sense of accomplishment. We reached our goal!
The last couple weeks I’ve had a lot of pain in my hips and my right shoulder. You wouldn’t think you could get injured on bed rest, but apparently it’s possible. Being pregnant though, my solutions are limited. I can’t just run to the doctor or to medicine. All I can take is Tylenol but I really need an anti-inflammatory medicine.
I’m not telling you these things so you think I’m tough, or so you’ll feel bad for me. I just wonder, where do you run when you have “pain”? If the pain is physical, or sickness, do you run to the doctor or the medicine cabinet? Do you run to friends complaining about your situation and seeking compassion? Do you run to alcohol or drugs to numb your brokenness?
Right now I’m glad I can’t run to medicine for relief. It forces me to run to the Great Physician, the only One who is able to heal me completely, or give me the strength to endure. As Paul says in the Bible: “Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong” 2 Corinthians 12:7-10