Whenever I’m hiking, I inevitably go through the same conversation in my mind: “Why am I doing this to myself? Ugh…this is tough.” I often think this when I’m trudging through the valleys, especially if they are thick and we’re bush-whacking through some roughage. Oh, and definitely if it’s raining on top of it, so that all the rain water drenches every part of your body as you brush by the foliage, impossible to avoid their reach.
Rain faces for a wet day ahead; looking happy but actually dreading the day’s hike in Newfoundland with lots of rain; cut up, muddy post-hiking feet.
…But then there comes that moment when you get a break in the clouds and the rain comes to a stop.
When you finish the seemingly endless switchbacks and find yourself at the top of the mountain – the peak. In that one instant, everything was worth the effort. It sounds cliché, but it’s so true – the view would never be as spectacular if the climb wasn’t difficult. It adds to the experience. Every time, I am instantly glad I pushed through and enjoy that moment at the top before blazing down the trail that once was so difficult to ascend.
Life is like that. Whether we think we lead pretty exciting or placid days, we all experience our own valleys and peaks. It’s easy to be content and joyful on top of the peak, when the sun is shining, but more difficult than words can sometimes express when we are trudging through the valley and are stumbling in darkness.
I think about people around the world and cannot help but know how easy I have it; it’s hard not to compare to the hardships others are facing. And yet I comforted by the fact that I am living the story God has written for me; it’s no accident I am here in Calgary, Alberta facing my own troubles and not in the Congo or in Columbia. Furthermore, he cares about the intricacies of my life and that assures me that what I face is not belittled.
Mikey and I walked through his cancer diagnosis after being married for 5 months, moved back home with his parents, and everything in our lives shifted. A year later, when we saw God do some incredible things, everything shifted again, and we quit our jobs and left our apartment to pursue a new opportunity. We’re realizing now that the last shift rocked us and in many ways we are still recovering from it, moving back home with his parents again and adjusting to life that doesn’t look like how we pictured it. But cancer taught us to be flexible, reminded us that we are not in control, and walking through that valley has truly made the peaks so much more delightful. And God has continued to be faithful to us; that has not changed, even though we do not understand why he chose to changes things again.
Yesterday in church, we heard an incredible sermon from the first fifteen verses of James 1 that outlined the reality of this truth: life is hard; God is good. A quote (didn’t catch from whom, unfortunately) was shared that struck me hard:
Let a man live for two or three years without affliction and he is good for nothing.
What do you think of that line? I can’t agree more with it; life without adversity, without conflict, is a life that does not change and a story without a storyline. That doesn’t mean I welcome it, but I’m praying that God would continue to refine my character and heart and help me to realize that I can have joy despite my circumstances and in Him, always!
You might be walking through a valley right now. Or, you might be enjoying the sunshine and breeze from the top of the peak. If that’s the case, don’t feel guilty but live in the moment, remembering Ecclesiastes 7:14: “In the day of prosperity be joyful, and in the day of adversity consider: God has made the one as well as the other, so that man may not find out anything that will be after him.” If that’s you, remember that adversity WILL come – it’s part of life! But enjoy the good, thank God for it, and be there to encourage others.
If you’re seeking encouragement, check out the sermon that we heard yesterday; it’s a great reminder of truth in hard times that we all need!** Keep trudging and place your hope in a place it will not be shaken; the views are worth it. Have a great Monday you guys!
Live well & be well friends,
**Fast forward to minute 32:06. The first little bit is a drama… I know there are times in our lives where I have felt that way and I know a lot of you probably have too. **