I was talking to a woman at the gym earlier today, and she was griping a bit about how she's working so hard and not seeing much progress. She said she gained another pound (and I helpfully piped in the cliched but often true, "maybe you're just transforming the fat to muscle" which she knew), and yet doesn't seem to see any shrinking in inches. And this time I kept my mouth shut, because I've never been in my early fifties with menopausal hormones crashing in and the body changing, again, before my eyes and in my almost 30 years, perhaps I've finally learned to keep my trap shut when I don't know what I'm talking about. But then she said, "But hey. If I hadn't been working out, maybe I would have gained 3 pounds instead of just one."
And that just got the wheels spinning. Exercise seems to be a lot like prayer. Putting aside the myriad of comparisons to be made between physical and spiritual discipline, it just occurred to me:
Sometimes we pray and we pray and we pray... and nothing happens. And we say, "But God, I prayed and prayed and prayed and nothing happened."
And He says, "That was the gift."
Exercise keeps us from all manner of disease and illness and injury that we can't have known we're being saved from because they don't happen.
This is nothing new. No new revelation here.
Just once again, I'm marvelling in the gift of incarnation. Not even just THE Incarnation, but mine as well. I woke up in this incredible thing one day almost 30 years ago, this body, and it's infuriating and doesn't work right, and even the few systems I'm intelligently in charge of I don't run properly a disappointing percentage of the time. But I find Him here. In the first gift He ever gave me.