Luke 24: 32 They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”
It was nearing the end of a miserable late March day in Southern Ontario, Canada. Snow was falling, the wind was howling, and every voice in my head was saying “skip your workout” (after all, I am far from a young man; I have an excuse). When I got home my son’s girlfriend had an ugly running interval on her workout schedule and likewise every voice in her head said “no let’s skip this one”. Since “misery loves company” I joined in on the wretched intervals (particularly ugly as we ran every second one into the snowy wind). Again during the workout, voices screamed out, with considerable reason, to cut the workout short, but we both trudged on and completed the bodily torment. Oh how we longed for the warm breezes of spring to be blowing, and for the sun to be shining warmly once again.
I recently read an Oswald Chambers devotional from My Utmost for his Highest (March 22) which parallels my recent workout from a spiritual sense. Chambers said: “It is the simple, dreary day, with its commonplace duties and people, that smothers the burning heart…” Chambers often talks about our experiences on the mountaintop, those times where we feel so close to God that it feels like we got a taste of heaven. We feel that we are clearly hearing from God and He is guiding our every step. But we can’t stay on that “mount of transfiguration” (Mark 9: 1-9) forever. As Chambers says: “we must obey the light we received there; we must put it into action”.
The secret to not letting our burning hearts be doused during the dreary days, those days when we are walking in the valleys, is for us to abide in Jesus. Jesus did not create us for the mountaintop experiences, rather he created us to walk among the people, “to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10). If we choose to abide in Jesus, if we choose to graft ourselves to the vine (John 15), then we will be able to persevere the dreary days, and even in the midst of pain, or perhaps apparent silence, we will feel the presence of Jesus.
God does not lie. When he told Joshua that he would never leave nor forsake him (Deuteronomy 31:6), when Jesus told his disciples that He would not leave them as orphans (John 14), and in countless other stories in the Bible, God was faithful and He will be faithful with you if you choose to remain in Him.
While those dreary workout days are particularly unpleasant and painful, one thing is in common with all of them. When completed without compromise, the feeling at the end of such workouts is incredibly satisfying. There is the feeling of having conquered something big. Likewise, if we choose to persevere spiritually during difficult times, we will be rewarded on the other end. 9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9