Hardship uncovers the only thing we truly need to survive—hope.
—Kim Meeder, Hope Rising
For almost two years, I’ve consistently ridden my Peloton bike and reaped the physical benefits, but a couple months ago, I plateaued. This made no sense to me because I’d continued to ride a minimum of four days per week and averaged one hundred miles per month.
I discovered the cause of my problem by answering the question displayed on the screen at the end of every ride: How difficult was your workout? Using the scale of 1-10, I tapped 3 and realized I’d chosen rides in the 1-3 range for far too long.
By avoiding the rides with a 7-10 difficulty level—where my heart pounds out of my chest, and I can’t catch my breath, and quitting seems the most logical solution—I remained comfortable, but I no longer experienced gains in strength or endurance.
Sometimes I forget discomfort brings growth—especially in my spiritual life.
Thinking back on the days, weeks, months, and years when the difficulties of life reached a 10—when my heart pounded out of my chest, when I couldn’t catch my breath, and when quitting seemed the most logical solution—I drew closer to God, and He drew closer to me (James 4:8a, NIV). I learned to wait in hope for the Lord, and He was my help and shield (Psalm 33:20). My trust in God was strengthened through the hardship, my faith endured the hardship, and my soul hoped again and found rest after the hardship.
How difficult is life for you right now? If you’re in that 7-10 range, may I offer you this hope?
Therefore, we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So, we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (1 Cor. 4:17-18).