I enjoy going on a stroll in our neighborhood, especially during the morning hours in springtime.  It’s peaceful and the outside air so refreshing.  I’ve read in different fitness articles to “walk like you’re in a hurry” in order to gain the most benefits of exercise by getting your heart rate up.

But me, no, I like to take it easy and enjoy my surroundings.  It feels like so much of my life is fast-paced, so when it comes to walking I prefer a saunter to “being in a hurry”.  Thank you very much, fitness experts. ;-)

I notice a lot of things as I move at a glacial pace – a bug, a weed growing through the crack of the sidewalk, waste left behind by irresponsible dog owners, grrrrrr AND from time to time, a coin. 

I’ve found so many coins.  Most of the time it’s a penny, but I’ve also come across the occasional nickel, dime and even a quarter on one instance.  I’m not gonna get rich by any means, but it reminds me whenever it occurs that you can find treasure in the most unexpected of places, even a gutter.  But I digress…

One particular morning as I was walking along I found a 2013-penny, still nice and shiny.  That made sense.  It was only 4 years old.  But low and behold, about ten minutes later I came across another 2013-penny, but this one - not so much.  It was barely legible.  Scratched, scuffed and stained, this specific coin bore the evidence of a much different journey than the first.

It was a glaring and stark reminder to me of people I meet throughout my life.  I am often amazed when I learn others’ stories.  Are they like the shiny penny or the worn one?

Typically they’re a combination of both - seasons of blessing and ones of trial and suffering.  I must admit I am most intrigued by what they’ve endured in times of suffering.  How did they manage to make it through such a dreadful situation?  Where did they find the strength to go on? 

The power of the human spirit combined with faith that has been tested continues to fascinate me as I learn the numerous different stories of God’s people.

Mary Tyler Moore used to say, “You can’t be brave if you’ve only had wonderful things happen to you.”  While Mary’s no theologian, her insight is true and there are scriptural parallels that support her famous quote.

It was a glaring and stark reminder to me of people I meet throughout my life.  I am often amazed when I learn others’ stories. 
“In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you and he will place you on a firm foundation.” I Peter 5:10

Heartache has many amazing benefits, ranging from bravery to strength to perseverance, to name a few. While I don’t look forward to or enjoy difficulties, I have come to appreciate what they produce and have learned that suffering is never in vain.

DEBBIE WALKER Seniors' Ministry Pastor

Seniors' Ministry Pastor

God is working on our behalf in each and every situation we find ourselves.  He will never leave us or abandon us.  He is for us.  This is good news whether you’re experiencing a season of fruitfulness or you’re in a season of suffering.

“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” Romans 8:28

I didn’t get my heart rate up on that walk, you fitness experts, but I did get all this from a meander through my neighborhood and two lost coins.