By Stephen Hong

Recently I have been doing more RUCKING, thanks to a dear friend John. What is RUCKING? From the official website, goruck.com, RUCK•ING [VERB] means, “carrying a weighted pack on your back. It implies action, energy, and purpose.” It is also known as “urban hiking.” As we carry about 30 pounds rucksack and walk in subzero and blizzard-like weather, it hit me that this is what Christian life is about. 

 All of us carry different types of burdens in our life sack. It might be a concern about the uncertain future, people that we love and care for, physical or mental sicknesses, injustices that come against us, or pressures and anxieties from our workplaces. We feel these things weighing us down every day. Or there are days that we do not even want to pick up the sack because we are weary, and we know the pain and hurts that come from carrying them. 

When John and I go rucking, I have similar fears going into it. Just picking up a 30 pound rucksack, I am hesitant. I am already thinking about how much heavier it will feel as we hike. My legs tighten up, and my breath gets shorter as we pick up our pace in our course. However, John helps me to shift my focus away from the challenges to what is to come. He always reminds me that you are only getting stronger and you will feel amazing when you finish and take your rucksack. He tells me to “embrace the suck” because the reward is far greater than challenges. John, the more experienced and stronger RUCKER, assures and encourages me throughout the process that we can do this together. 

Here is the good news; Jesus is with us in our daily struggles. He knows exactly what is in our life sacks. He knows the fears that it can bring. He knows how much you can carry or how much could crush you. Thus, the question becomes are you willing to listen and trust Him in carrying the burden? Do you fully trust in His provision and goodness? Jesus is calling us to look to Him, “the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God!” (Heb 12:2). Each day, we embrace the ruck, not by sight but by faith, knowing that He has already carried, overcame and defeated the ultimate burden of sins. A prayer that I have been praying frequently as I face my own challenges is, “(Lord) I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24). 

 Moreover, this story is not about us carrying the burden alone, but we are “surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses” (Heb 12:1a). There are Johns along the way, to encourage us, cheer us on, and share the load. We get to embrace the burdens together and they are opportunities for us see more of God’s glory. So, are you ready to ruck today?