Well, my friends, sometimes you just have to “live and learn.” My husband, “the boys” (my sons), and I just returned last week from a backpack trip down the Virgin River in Zion National Park.
The most important thing to do when launching on this kind of adventure is to PREPARE. Well, we diligently did our research, scoped out all the pertinent information, and decided that it was a trip we could do. Everything we read stated it would take about 13 hours for “leisurely hikers” to make the trek. (I’d like to know how these people define “leisurely.” In my case, I think maybe other words would be more accurate – sluggish, plodding, lumbering…) OK, 13 hours over two days…hard, but possible. Right?! Yeah, same mistaken thought pattern as, “Hey, want to take a stroll up to Mt. Everest?”
We over-packed, and under-trained – BUT…we did complete the trip. A little (read, a LOT!) worse for wear, sore and tired, mentally and physically spent – but, in one piece. No injuries, no fights, no lasting damage – (except a stomachache from eating a huge helping of “humble pie!!”)
I gotta tell you something, though. It was a good lesson in many ways. I think we all learned what you can really do when you HAVE to – how you can push yourself beyond your limits when you have NO OTHER CHOICE!
As I was hiking, (in between prayers that were short and sweet – you know, the “Help me, Lord” variety) I spent a lot of time thinking about the spiritual parallels of this most arduous journey. The apostle Paul likened this life to a race. I’d like to share the things he had to say about running that race:
“Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win!...we do it for an eternal prize. So I run with purpose in every step.” (1 Corinthians 9:24-26)
“…let us strip off every weight that slows us down…And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus…” (Hebrews 12:1-2)
“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.” (Romans 5:3-4)
You know, we DID make it out of that canyon – we’re going to make it out of this life, too. So, in the meantime, let’s run with patience, perseverance, and purpose.
A few closing thoughts:
As followers of Jesus, we are running toward our heavenly reward.
Patience will make our final victory sweet.
We do not struggle alone – God is ALWAYS with us.
How’s your race?
BLOG = “Blessedly Leaning On God!”