A few years ago, I went on a bike trip with a group from my cousin’s church. Over three days we biked 109 miles and camped out at different locations along the trail.
Despite the fact that it was over ninety degrees during the days, freezing cold during the nights, and the trail boasted some pretty nasty inclines, not one person quit. It was crazy hard, but we all got through it.
The answer is simple—we were there for each other. We each made an effort to do the four following things, and doing so eased the journey for us all. These four things are applicable to many other hard things you may do in life and make many of our hard things feel just a little bit easier.
#1. Encourage Others
I remember the second day of that bike trip very vividly. We had reached a long stretch of uphill terrain. It was boiling hot, and halfway up I was absolutely done with the whole thing. I was ready to fall flat on my face. If I’d had my way I would have stopped then and there.
Thankfully I wasn’t alone, and I wasn’t allowed to sit there and burn up.
“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:11)
I had never seen this verse better lived-out than at that moment. As I prepared to quit, people I barely knew went out of their way to help me reach the top. It was an amazing experience that I will never forget.
It taught me that if we have good friends at our side, urging us on and encouraging us to keep going, hard tasks feel easier. It also goes in the other direction—if we have someone with us criticizing our every move, everything is going to seem more difficult than it really is.
We should keep this in mind when our friends are doing challenging things and especially if they’re facing challenges in their walk with God. If we build others up it’s going to give them encouragement to keep going, and it’s going to encourage our hearts as well.
So, let’s take the words of the Bible to heart and be people who encourage others.
#2. Keep a Good Attitude
Everyone kept a very positive attitude throughout the bike trip. If even a few of us had had a bad attitude, that could easily have spread to the whole group. Even when it felt like we had been pedaling longer than is humanly possible, we remained positive. After all, we were with our friends, and we were doing something that we’ll remember for the rest of our lives.
Ephesians 4:29 says, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”
Are our words displaying an attitude that rejoices in the Lord and gives grace to others, or words that display a discontent heart? There were times during those 109 miles that I wanted to scream. Or throw something. Or collapse on the ground. Or do literally anything but continue biking that trail. In those moments I had to choose a good attitude, not only for my own sake, but for the sake of the whole group.
#3. Pray Through Everything
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
James 5:13 also says, “Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise.”
Colossians 4:2 also encourages, “Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.”
Over and over and over God’s Word urges us to pray. Prayer connects us to God, our Source of strength.
I particularly love James 5:13, because it reminds us to pray in everything. We shouldn’t only pray when things are good, or only when they’re not-so-good. Or only in church, or only at mealtimes, or only when we want something really, really bad.
We should pray in everything, steadfastly, and without ceasing.
#4. Look to the Future
When we finally reached the top of the grueling nine-mile hill, we took a quick break and then rode down. Believe me, it was glorious.
Life can sometimes feel like that hill. Endless, tiresome, and hard. Hebrews 12:1-2 encourages us to “run with endurance, looking unto Jesus.”We will experience difficult times, but if we persevere, we'll be met with a glorious eternity---more glorious than anything on this earth. We’ll be with Jesus and that’s a reward worth enduring any difficulty! Click To Tweet
There are difficult times in this life, but if we persevere, we will be met with a glorious eternity—more glorious than anything we’ll have experienced on this earth. We’ll get to be with Jesus, face-to-face, and that’s a reward well worth enduring any difficulty!
Hard, But Good
An adult who went on the trail photographed and recorded us throughout the trip, and then compiled a video to remember it by. At one lunch stop, he went around and interviewed us. When he came over and asked what I thought of the trail, I desperately searched my mind for something to say. Finally, I responded, “Hard, but worth it.”
I don’t like hearing my own voice, and I still squirm when I watch the video, but I also realize the truth of those frantic words. It was hard, but it was also so, so good.
Whatever hard thing you have set before you today, remember to encourage others however you can, maintain a good attitude, pray without ceasing, and keep your eyes on your future prize—Jesus. As you do, you’ll find that the hard things in life can be equally as good.