The Hike

4 Oct

A repost from the archives

rainbowfallssignAs we set out to hike the trail, the sign read “Rainbow Falls 2.7 miles.” The time was a little after 1:00. We figured that we could handle the walk and that it might take us an hour or two.

We hiked for awhile enjoying the beautiful scenery and stopping every now and then to take pictures of the creek. An hour passed, and we began to wonder how much farther we would need to hike before arriving at the Falls.

We soon discovered that this trail was not the smooth dirt path we had envisioned. The farther we hiked, the trail became more rocky and the pathway grew steeper with each step. Maybe we should turn around. We debated about returning to the car, but decided that we would have wasted the time it took to hike as far as we had hiked already.

We began to pass groups of people on their way back down. We inquired as to how much farther we would need to hike.

One group said they didn’t make it to the falls because they had made reservations for dinner and would never make it on time had they kept climbing.

The next couple said it would take another 30 minutes.

As we continued up the windy trail, the next family we passed said “Oh, about an hour or so from here to the Falls.”

Wait? Didn’t someone say 30 minutes 15 minutes ago? We weren’t sure how long it would actually take at this point and began to wonder if it was worth it! After all we hadn’t eaten lunch and we knew that the two and half year old that was with us would soon need a nap. Still we decided we’d come too far to turn around without seeing the Falls.

P1040131However, the farther we hiked the more exhausted we became. The rocks and trees that had once been so beautiful seemed monotonous. The once flowing creek had disappeared from view. A curvy pathway blocked by rocks and tree roots stood between us and our intended destination that we weren’t even sure was going to be worth all of the work we would put into getting there!

By this time another hour had passed. No lunch. No water. (We left it all in the car intending to have a picnic after we returned from viewing the Falls!) No sign of the Falls we were hiking in search of. More rocks. More roots. More curves.

It was then that we encountered another couple and their infant son strapped in a carrier enjoying their hike down the mountain. We asked them how much longer they thought we would need to walk until we reached the Falls.

“Probably about 45 minutes.” the husband replied.

We questioned if it was worth it. He said, “I won’t tell you if it is or isn’t, but what’s worth more to me is the accomplishment of having set out to do something and actually finishing it.” We thanked them for their time and began walking on. As they passed, I remarked about how precious their baby was and asked what his name was.

They smiled and replied, “True. Just like God’s promises. God keeps His promises!” Having said that, they continued on.

It was then that the Lord began using this physically exhausting hike to remind me of some very important spiritual truths! He was able to speak louder than my stomach that had long since digested the cinnamon bun I had for breakfast! He began to reveal so many spiritual parallels between our grueling hike up Mt. Le Conte and our walks as Christians desiring to follow Christ on a daily basis.

Indeed sometimes our spiritual walks get tough. Sometimes we get dry and can’t seem to find the water that was so prevelent before. This leads to complaining and grumbling about current circumstances. Other times we seek advice and counsel from others only to receive vague and unclear direction. Along the journey, some choose to give up truly following after Christ and the rewards His way has to offer because they have already made plans that conflict with the demands of going God’s way. Thankfully, the journey also has days and seasons of encouragement when God’s word either written or spoken is just the reminder we need to keep walking despite the rough terrain.

And best of all, when we do keep walking, the Ultimate Reward awaits us. Just as this beautiful waterfall awaited us when we finally reached our destination at 4:00 that afternoon, 3 hours and what seemed like thousands of steps later!rainbowfalls2

 We did find out that the distance was actually 3.2 miles a little more than the 2.7 posted on the sign!

We also found out that it was my two and half year old cousin that found the most joy in the 5 hour journey. (It took us 2 hours to get back to the parking area after seeing the waterfall!) Never complaining about the hike, she found joy in the many rocks that we discovered and collected pocket fulls of acorns along the trail. Her legs were the smallest and weakest yet she delighted in being allowed to walk the trail without assistance. The rest of us with older and stronger legs struggled to make the climb. Yet another spiritual parallel. Sometimes the longer we’ve been saved the easier it is to lose the excitement and joy we have in Jesus. It should be the opposite, the longer we serve Him the more spiritually mature we should grow thus making knowing Him sweeter!

I had no idea that our “hour long walk” to the Falls would take us five hours and nearly six and half miles to complete or that the Lord would use it to encourage me in my walk with Him! I woke up this morning with sore muscles and a refreshed spirit being certain that no matter how rough or windy the trail becomes my God is Faithful and True, always keeping His promises and always rewarding those that are faithful to complete the course regardless of it’s intensity!

 “…God is faithful…” 1 Cor. 10:13

Though that two and half year old is now nearly four, the same spiritual parallels apply. The hike is sometimes taxing but always blessed when we’re walking the trail marked by the Master.

Walk on, dear ones! Walk on!

 

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