The Walking Test
by Holly Schilling
This Sunday, Hannah, Vivian, and I are participating in the MS Walk at Kensington Park. Since this event is happening the same Sunday that Randy is starting a new series called How’s Your Gait, I couldn’t help but think of the MS Walking Test. This is a test I take every year at my appointment with the neurologist and is sometimes referred to as The Gait Test. Here is a bit about the reason for the test and how I see so many spiritual truths hidden in it!
“This test entails walking a certain distance with or without an assistive device. Your doctor will time how long it takes you to get from point A to point B.” As Christians, we are certainly trying to get from one point to another! From life in this physical, earthly world driven by our flesh to the spiritual kingdom of God that we will experience both here in our walk with God, as well as in Heaven with Him eternally.
“Since MS affects parts of your brain and spinal cord that control mobility, you may experience a slow, gradual decline in your ability to walk. A walking test, however, is designed to identify variances in your mobility early." As Christians, no one ever plans to walk away from God. I think the drifting from God is oftentimes “slow and gradual.” It is important to recognize “variances” in our faith early! Staying accountable to other Christians who can encourage you in your walk and help you get back on track when needed is so important.
“Maintaining independence is important for many people living with multiple sclerosis, which often involves the ability to walk and complete other activities with minimal assistance. A slower walking speed often indicates limited mobility, which could be a predictor for disability in the long term.” As Christians, this decline in our walk with God can be a predictor for long term loss of faith; thankfully, as long as we are living, there is always opportunity to repent and walk back to God. He never walks away from us!
“Your doctor will compare your speed with the speed that a person without a disability walks in the same span of time. Understanding your current abilities will help determine appropriate treatment.” As Christians, this part of the analogy is big! The only one “without disability we are compared to” is God and Romans 3:23 tells us we “all fall short of the glory of God.” As long as we understand our “current abilities” we can find the “treatment” for this predicament: Jesus and His death on the cross. Praise God for that!
“Your doctor will also compare your results with the results of prior tests, to see the changes over time. This can help them evaluate whether treatment is effective or needs to be adjusted.” As Christians, this comparison is good news. We are never compared to any other person on this earth. Spiritual growth will look different on everyone. We are compared to ourselves, but the only thing God expects is a reasonable amount of growth in a reasonable amount of time. His mercies are new every morning and His love compels us to become more like Him with the power of His grace.
So think about the MS Gait Test as we begin this new series. Be aware of your spiritual gait and be intentional about keeping it steady.
By this time next year, at a “spiritual gait check up”, will your walk with God have improved or declined?