Summer time is almost coming to an end, but the memories that I've made with the people I love has made this Summer unforgettable. One of my favorite things about Summer is being able to hike in the mountains and enjoy the amazing outdoors, it's pretty remarkable how God continually blows me away by the lessons that He teaches me through nature.
One occasion that comes to my mind happened during a hike that my brother, sister in law, and I did last month.
To get to the beginning of this trail, a boat needs to take you across a fairly big lake. As soon as the boat drops you off, you eagerly begin your way through the trail.
After what seems like forever, you finally reach the tree line, and you suddenly come face to face with the immensity of the Rocky Mountains, and you begin to doubt if your already-weary-legs will make it to the top.
Then you begin to make the ascend through rocky and slippery terrain, until you are faced with a cliff drop on one side and a sheer rock face on your other side, with a steel cable bolted into the rock as the only object available to hold on to dear life.
As we continued to make our way through the narrow path, my thoughts trailed off as I considered how our spiritual journey is much the same.
God takes us through necessary dark and gloomy "forests", where we can't even see what is ahead or what we're aiming for. It's a tough part in the trail, and definitely not my favorite, but it is crucial if we want to reach the top.
The most wonderful thing about this part of the journey is that as we come out of the dense forest we come to admire the sweeping landscape that unexpectedly appears before our eyes with deeper appreciation.
You suddenly come to the place where your trust in God is tested, the last part of the climb, where one wrong move and a minor distraction can cost you your life.
We live in a world where the pressure of distractions are all around us. Maybe we are going through that narrow path where steep cliffs surround us, and the only way to make it through it is by paying close attention to each step, and moving carefully forward.
But temptations will come, they're part of the journey. Just as having to hike on the edge is a required portion during a hike. But what we need to be aware of is the risk that is involved at this time, and that not taking God's warnings seriously can be life threatening:
"Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour."
1 Peter 5:8
So while many will give up, others will doubt, and most will get discouraged....that we may be part of the ones that reach that worthy destination: a crystal-clear lake on top of the mountain where your strength is restored and your faith elevated into the greatness of God's reward to those that endure unto the end!
But the one who endures to the end will be saved.
My hiking buddies!
My hiking buddies!
The "ordinary" country life continues.... :P
Meeting this adorable new calf!