Updated: Jan 31
Do you enjoy hiking? When we lived in South Korea, hiking was the national pastime. Koreans are much more active than Americans, so I found the hiking trails to be just as busy as the city streets. Our joint love for hiking is one of the things that first attracted my husband and I to pursue dating. What is it that makes hiking so enjoyable? I think it is the hard struggle that is rewarded at the end with a delightful sight, but you don’t know what that will image will be when you head out on the trail. On a physical hiking trail, whatever scenery you see along the trail always makes the physical work you endured to get there seem worth it. God showed me the spiritual application on this several years ago. There are so many times when I am facing an emotional or spiritual battle that is dang hard. I am climbing, working, and sweating, and it hurts. I get to a point where I feel like I won’t make it one step forward. I look ahead, and all I see is an uphill climb in front of me. I cannot see what is waiting for me around the curve or just above the crest of the hill. The pain and struggle that I am experiencing seems unbearable. I want to quit. But, I keep pressing on because I know that my God is faithful. I trust Him; I trust His word. But, for awhile, it just doesn’t get any easier. I keep climbing without seeing what lies ahead. It stings; I can’t understand why God would have me climb this steep stretch of the mountain. I get to a point where I give up on my own ability. I tell my Daddy, my Abba Father, that I just cannot go any longer. My muscles cramp, and I cry out for His help. He answers with a refreshing and gentle breeze that brings in His spirit. God whispers that He was there all along and tells me to trust Him, to keep climbing, to persevere. By the power of the Holy Spirit, I press on in an upward manner. I peer ahead and cannot see what lies ahead. I just see more climb, and I don’t understand. Why has God made this climb so steep? But, I know that based on previous climbs, that God is faithful. He is waiting for me at the top. In fact, He is right there to hold my hand as I climb. But, He wants to develop and grow me. So, He asks me to keep climbing. As I climb, I realize, I might be coming into a clearing. Painfully, I push one foot in front of the other, one step at a time. Dust kicks up all around me. I pass a clearing of bushes and catch a glimpse of the beauty waiting for me. Mesmerized, I realize why the hard work and the climb are worth it. At the top of all that work I glimpse a view that is beyond my grandest imagination. The views sing with snow-capped mountain tops, lush, green valleys roll and float with joy, tumbling waterfalls cascade gleefully and shout praises to the King of Kings. I pull myself to a standing position, where I can see all the beauty in unobstructed view. The reality of the artwork I am viewing by the master artisan causes me to catch my breath. What I am experiencing is so much more than my mind could have planned. It was harder than I would have imagined. But, God’s plan is so much greater than what I could have envisioned. Yes, the struggle and the crisis were hard; but God is always doing greater than I can imagine. My friend, the next time you are in an uphill climb that doesn’t seem to make sense, remember, God is the master architect and artist. He is always concerned with our good and His glory. His plans always, always trump yours. You just might have to take a steep uphill climb first because He wants to build your spiritual muscles and make your stronger. Cling to the hope of the view He will eventually give you. Remind yourself that God’s plan, which is up ahead, is so much greater than yours and keep climbing. It is worth the climb!
Romans 5:3-4 “Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that sufferings produce perseverance; perseverance, character; and character hope.” NIV
James 1:2-3 “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith developed perseverance.” NIV
With you kids, take them out on a hike and talk about how God sometimes calls us to persevere and press on. As you walk up the mountain or on the trail, talk about how God wants to complete our character and mature us, but that He always has a plan that is for His glory and our good - Reference Romans 8:28.