We went to visit our son at College Militaire Royale (CMR) and to see his graduation from OP. One of the highlights was following the cadets through the Obstacle Course. This was not the standard hop through some tires, crawl through a tube event. They swam, hauled, climbed, ran, swung, jumped, hefted and worked together to accomplish each task.
One of the obstacles was a trench full of mud that they had to slither through on their bellies. Bear in mind that they were wearing helmets, protective eye wear, shirts with 3/4 length sleeves, camo pants and combat boots. They were slimy, sweaty, and beyond the wildest imaginings of any laundry detergent commercial.
As they, one after another, made their way through the trench, we could see the muck oozing from their eyes, ears, noses and mouths. As they ran past us to repeat the process, the mud flew off – splattering many of the cheering parents.
About midway along the trench, one of the facilitators stood, blasting the cadets with a fire hose. At first glance, it seemed to be rubbing salt in the wound but in talking to the cadets about it afterward that steady stream of water was lifesaving.
Despite the pressure, that hose of water offered relief from the mud plastered to their eyes and hindering their breathing. That water offered a breath of fresh air. It was life giving.
For someone not familiar with Military history, the practice of the Obstacle Course may seem barbaric. But as you look a little bit deeper, there are very good reasons for the challenge.
In John, chapter 9, Jesus encountered a blind man. The man wanted to see. Jesus, in an act that seems senseless, covered the man’s eyes with mud, told him to wash it off and then he would be able to see. Guess what…it worked.
In our day to day journey to grow in life, there are often times when we can not see. We encounter hardships and trials. We do not understand why we are facing so much darkness. That’s the mud.
God provides the water to wash the darkness away. Washing in the pool, getting sprayed with the fire hose, immersing ourselves in the things of the Lord – all of these things bring refreshing and help us to persevere. Enduring through the challenges makes us stronger and more able to serve Him.
The Obstacle Course was a great example of how we can allow things in our lives to beat us down and defeat us OR we can, as the writer of Hebrews encouraged,
… let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
At the end of the morning, the Obstacle Course behind them, the cadets gathered together and celebrated the success of accomplishment. Despite having begun the day with ‘mud in their eyes’, they worked together and stayed the course. In the end, they were stronger than they were before and they were ready to meet the next challenge.
When faced with the mud of life, we need to remember that God is there and that He will provide the water to wash the mud away. If we endure to follow Him, He will be able to say,
‘Well done, good and faithful servant!
What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?