As a teacher, I could recite chapter and verse about why God challenges us. I often spoke of the idea that challenges make us stronger, and that the easy way is not the better way. If I am to be honest, I must admit ,that as I pray these days, at least on the days when I do so mindfully, I ask that God remove obstacles from my life. I admit it. I want things to be easy. No hidden blessings, no gain that comes through challenge. Easy. Obvious blessing. I understand that life does not work that way, but still, it is what I want.
So why the discrepancy. The answer is fairly simple, but somewhat frightening. As I run the hills, I know I am gaining speed. Not immediately, of course, but in a fairly linear sense. Within reason, more hills equals more speed. I should add, I suppose, that I like the idea of being tough, or rather another term, which I'd better not use. In life on the other hand, it's not so simple. Sure there are points in my life that I can look back on, where tough challenges brought great achievement. There are, however, many, where, at least as far as I can tell, I gained nothing discernible, or at least nothing that was worth the trade-off.
The best I can offer, is to paraphrase what I used to tell myself before I started loving running hills. If I can going to have to climb life's hills, I may as well embrace them. It's not much of a start, but for now, it will have to do.