May 31st Day of Rest a Welcomed Guest
Day #26 of my walk proved to be mixed with physical pain and suffering on the one hand and manifold blessings on the other. After approximately four miles into the day, and after pressing up a steady incline, I suffered what I recognized to be a shin splint on my right leg. This, coupled with my already weak knee, began to work on my mind in a negative way. The pain was so intense, my vision was adversely affected, and the high humidity, resulting from the previous night’s rain, was not a friendly companion.
I managed to walk into Mocksville to meet with Mayor Slate. Since he is a retired MD, I asked him for his advice, and he could only suggest “rest.” That did not seem to be an option, since my schedule required me to walk another 10 miles for the day. I agreed that if the condition were to worsen enough, I certainly would be forced to rest, and that, indefinitely.
Persevering in prayer, and with great determination, I began the grueling walk towards Statesville. After making another 3 miles or so, totaling 7.66 (on my phone app), I told Barb I did not know if I could make it much farther. I could tell my wife was suffering with me, and she did not want me to seriously injure myself, and neither did she want to discourage me from my resolve — that can be a most uncomfortable state to be in.
The terrain that I am now walking is hilly and more challenging to different muscles. I had fairly mastered the level ground, but now with these ups and downs, things were becoming more complicated. It was hurting my leg about as much to go down a hill than up one. I decided to creep along, even if I only walked one mile per hour, I reasoned that I could potentially finish my course for the day.
Oh, how I prayed! I repeated promises such as, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me the strength.” I sang songs; I chanted, “Left, right left… and step, step, step by step” over and over. Just when I was almost ready to cave in to the flesh, a person would stop and offer cold water or tell me how they appreciated what I was doing. I counted 14 such encounters along the road on Day #26. You see, God has a way of sending “angels in the form of men” to minister to the struggling child of His. And with added encouragement, I marched forward with joy in my heart.
I think I was at 13.5 miles when I came to a place where I could sit down and rest for a spell. It was there that we met Charli and her grand-daughters. They were smiling and enjoying the day; Charli was very supportive of our causes and even offered us some ice cream, though we declined gracefully. With only 1.5 miles to go, I still had reservations about whether I should continue on.
And, as I arose from the bench where I had been taking a rest, the pain in my shin seemed to be doubled. But, I thought, “I must finish my course!” Barb was inclined to have me cut it short and not cause serious injury, but I opted to carry on. The first half mile was probably the worst suffering that I can recall since the early days of this walk near the outer banks. It was as if Satan had full sway — a permission from the Almighty to test my resolve.
I prayed as a little child crying out to a trusted Father, “Help me, Father, help me, Father!” After the half mile, the pain subsided, and I began to pick up the pace a bit. Then, I saw what appeared to be the last hill to climb, and my determination overcame all doubts of success. As I topped the last knoll, I saw the pace car in the distance, and knew I was nearly “home.” But, God had one final blessing for me before reaching the end point. I heard someone calling to me and turned to see three people approaching. It was an encounter to remember all my days, and their sweet spirits blended with mine in fellowship. It lasted so long that Barb noticed from afar and came walking to join the revival. After exchanging pictures, I made the last easy steps to Ridge Road and the end of the 15 miles for Day #26.
With tears in my eyes, I can only say, “Thank You, Father, for helping me in my time of need.” Now, I need a special healing in order to be ready for Day #27 on Monday. Thankfully, I have two days off for recovery. Yes, as usual, the Sabbath comes as a welcomed guest again. Thanks to all for your faithful prayers. 🙂