My legs were screaming for relief from the steady climb up the mountain. I was enjoying the hike so much and it was so beautiful and green as we trudged upward. Our goal was to reach the top that overlooked the whole valley below, a 5 mile trek all together. At first the walk seemed easy. But as we slowly climbed the hill I noticed it was hard to talk without sounding like a steam engine.
I know…. this is embarrassing.
I started becoming tired and overly winded about 3 miles into the hike and was slowly coming to the determination that I would not make it to the top and was considering turning around. But the greater part of me was not willing to give up the majestic view I knew I would encounter at the top. And I had to prove to myself I could do it.
So, keeping my head down, watching my feet, I kept on going, one foot in front of the other. At one point I lost my balance and was on the edge of a climb and thought surely I would topple down making an utter fool of myself. I envisioned myself rolling over and over through the green grass all the way to the bottom.
But it didn’t happen. I caught myself before I fell and was able to steady my gait. Onward and upward I went. Just before reaching the top I had this feeling I just wasn’t going to make it. I was so tired. My back hurt. My muscles hurt. But I noticed that I had passed some sort of milestone in my breathing and I wasn’t huffing like a steam engine anymore. So, I kept going, one foot in front of the other.
When Greg and I reached the top we were stunned with the beauty. Our trail had turned into a Little Red Riding Hood sort of mystical trail. There were huge Oak trees with branches that stretch out forever that made the adventuress little girl in me want to climb them, (but quickly talked myself out of that one). Looking down from the Oak trees we could see for miles in all directions and I was thrilled at my reward for not listening to my weakness of wanting to quit and staying on the course.
As we began the descent a while after exploring the top I began to think about the spiritual application that so plainly ran parallel to what I had just experienced.
When I am advancing into a trial that is taking great faith, at first I am so full of positive energy that God is more than able to see me through whatever I am facing. I begin to move forward, believing God is with me, and am proud of the fact I have no fear. I can do this, I think. I can even enjoy the climb. The mountain top is waiting and who knows what Joys await my perseverance.
But as the going gets rougher and my spiritual energy becomes laborious I think, “Uh oh, I’m not going to make it. My faith will not get me to the top this time.” I start looking up that mountain and wonder if I will ever make it. Doubt creeps in. I don’t want to go any further.
“Surely you will die.” My adversary whispers. “God will not come through for you this time. As a matter of fact, you have missed God all together.” Where have I heard that before? Boy, is satan predictable or what?
At some point I seem to lose my balance while believing God, due to the enormous strength it takes to remain steadfast. I feel off, somehow, and wobbly. And just like when I thought I would topple down that mountain and make a fool of myself that day, I think the same thing in a spiritual trial. “What will people think when they see me fail in this trial. I am going to be seen as a failure.” Recognizing my enemy, it gives me strength to press on. I figure if he wants me to quit, there must be a great blessing ahead.
So, I keep pressing forward, one foot in front of the other, up that hill of faith. Oh, my body hurts, my soul hurts, but my spirit is willing to press on. So, I do.
Pretty soon I can feel the wind beneath my feet and I catch my breath. I can feel the victory in the climb before I reach the top. And then there it is!! I am at the top. I am victorious! I can see for miles now and it all becomes so much clearer to me.
If we never had any mountains to climb our faith would not grow. Our spiritual muscles would grow weak. We would have a defeated thought life. So, we must count it all joy when we have mountains to climb. Without them we miss an opportunity to soar with the eagles.
“ [You should] be exceedingly glad on this account, though now for a little while you may be distressed by trials and suffer temptations, So that [the genuineness] of your faith may be tested, [your faith] which is infinitely more precious than the perishable gold which is tested and purified by fire. [This proving of your faith is intended] to redound to [your] praise and glory and honor when Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One) is revealed.” 1Peter 1 Amp.