Times of adversity can become times of inaction, indecision, and indolence. When the author of Hebrews sees fit to describe those who are struggling spiritually, they are portrayed not only as having “listless hands”, but “weak knees” (Hebrews 12:12). The word in the original language translated “weak” or “feeble” in verse 12 is the word “paraluo”. It speaks of one who is experiencing a permanent paralysis.
We must not allow ourselves to be caught in a state of physical, emotional, and spiritual paralysis. We must get up and get moving again, using those muscles that have been unused for a while. Yes, it is painful and requires great effort on our part. Think of all the training and rehabilitation many go through to get to a place where they can use limbs or parts of their body that have been damaged or broken in some way. The danger is that the longer we stay inactive, the harder it is to get out of the rut we are in. I compare this experience to vinyl albums in which the sound is cut into the vinyl by a needle. The needle etches the groove in the lacquer that spirals to the center of the circular disc. The imprinted lacquer is then coated to create the record. Our lives are like vinyl. Throughout our lives, impressions are made upon us. Some cut deeper than others. The more important or impactful something is, or the longer in duration something is a part of our lives, the deeper the groove becomes. The only thing that can rescue or change us from one groove to another is to cut a deeper groove. None of us have to stay in the rut or groove we find ourselves in. With God’s help and the encouragement of a few friends we can begin to cut a deeper groove in our lives that will lift the needle out of the one and into the other. But remember, the deeper the groove we are in, the deeper the groove needs to be cut over it so that we can move rather than remain paralyzed in the channel we are in.
The writer goes on to say in Hebrews 12:13 as a follow-up to what we have just covered, “and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but be healed.” The idea of making straight paths for our feet is to stay in our lane as we run and not go off course. It is only when we get off track from the course God Himself has laid out for us that we get ourselves in trouble and open ourselves up to spiritual injury.
God has prepared the way for us. It is not that the road God has set out for us is easy or without challenge or difficulty along the way. Life on earth has its share of trouble and suffering as Jesus said to His followers. But nowhere on God’s path for us are there hidden traps or intentional obstacles or hurdles that would spiritually injure or harm us. It is only when we get out of our lane that we create a greater vulnerability to our spiritual enemy by removing ourselves from the protection of God’s pathway for us.
If we take on projects and responsibilities that God has not led us to take on, we also add to the weight and burden of running. We start living how everyone else wants us to run our race rather than simply staying on the path God has for us. You can be sure of this – whatever God has for us is a uniquely and well-fitted responsibility created just for us. This is why Jesus was able to say to those around Him, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke on you and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and my load is not hard to carry” (Matthew 11:28-30).
Stay in the lane that God created for you. Do not deviate to the right or the left. You will discover that the path God has you on is a perfect fit, suited just for you. It will be something that you can manage without feeling crushed or burdened beyond your capability.