Trials – A Race to the Promise

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Trials are not easy. Many times the trial will feel like it is pushing us away from the object of our desire, our goal, and our promise. That is when we tend to want to give up hope as we see our promise seeming to drift further from our view, our grasp. But in reality we are moving closer and that is why the prophetic word will say don’t give up or turn away as you are so close.

The whole object of a trial is to test your stamina so to speak, to see what you are made of, how much you can take without buckling or giving up. It stretches you, moves your tent peg further away from the central part of your heart. At times it feels like you can’t take any more but in reality you can and God knows you can. He is building so many things in you in the trial; trust, patience, courage, His goodness and love and His desire to see you living in your promise. He is running alongside you giving you the strength to keep going. He is the one giving you the promise you are running toward. He is the one who will get the glory when you cross that finish line. He wants your testimony.

It is a bit like a long distance race where the goal is the finish line. I used to do endurance riding years ago. You are running from a starting point and toward the finish, miles away. It is great in the beginning but as the hours pass it begins to feel as though you are getting further from the finish line and your body and mind wants to slow down, get off the horse and rest. Tiredness sets in and your mind says you cannot sit in that saddle one more minute but the object is getting there in a certain amount of  time.

If it is your first long distance race (your first trial) you are overwhelmed by the distance and the terrain you travel over. It is nothing like any ordinary ride you have ever experienced and you are sure there is no end in sight. It seemed like such a good idea at the time you started but now you aren’t even so sure if it is real. You are miles (months, years) into the race (trial) and nobody else is in sight. You are on this track through wilderness alone and the reality of it all starts to fade. That is when the enemy starts whispering in your ear as you go, telling you to stop, you aren’t going to win, God is unfair, expects too much from you and so on.

The purpose of any race is to win the prize, the promise. A trial is the same and God allows it to test you, to build your character, faith and trust in Him and in the end you will receive the promise. If there was not something of great value to win, there would be no race, no trial, no challenge and no goal.  Nobody enters a contest without a prize, an award or recognition. Without something to win there would be no reason to run.

On every endurance ride there are stops along the way, a chance to take a break, stretch your legs, let the horse relax and have a drink of water. It is about pacing yourself and the horse, relaxing to the saddle, being in rhythm with the horse and understanding how to be refreshed with the views, the feel of the horse running under you, the anticipation of the promise at the end of the race. It is trusting your horse, knowing it well and being able to read its body language and knowing from experience with the horse that it will take you to the end and the finish line safe and on time. The longer you know the horse and go on rides with it the easier the long race will be. When you are on a long endurance ride you keep going into the night, the darkness and you depend on the horse’s ability to see, to lead you through the spots you can’t see ahead of you.

In any trial we must trust God alone to take us through to the end, the promise. He is building our trust, faith, ability to hear His voice and to take the times of rest in Him so that we don’t wear out before the end. He directs us over the rough spots in the trail, tells us to slow down and take a break and when to pick up the pace or use caution. On any endurance race you must be one with your horse and be in tune with its every move and even the faintest of direction it is giving you of how the trail is. A good horse will slow down and indicate with ear motions and muscle tensing when the going is tricky, it will warn you of need to be careful. You are totally dependent on that horse to get you to the end. You have the vet checks along the way and they will advise you of how you are traveling but back out on the trail it is just you and your horse. You don’t ride along with other riders chatting and conferring about the race. You are pretty much on your own and that is why you have to trust your horse.

I see the trial I’m on with God in the same way as an endurance race. It is exciting while I hold the promise in my heart. I know the value of the prize I am aiming for and that the next trial will be easier because of my experience and growing in strength on this one. As long as I keep my balance, my alignment with God and listen to His voice I can move forward with courage and purpose. If I let Him direct me through the rough patches and rest when He tells me to and relax into the journey knowing that He will take me through to the promise I will see that finish line ahead and as one of my mentors says, “I will finish and I will finish well.”

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