Imagine yourself hiking up Mount Whitney, the tallest summit in the contiguous United States. This mountain peak is part of the Sierra Nevada mountain range and is located in the Sequoia National Park in California with an elevation of 14,505 feet. As tall as this mountain is, it is only the 12th highest peak in the United States. There are 11 higher mountain peaks located just in the State of Alaska; Denali with a summit elevation of 20,310 being the highest.
You have decided to hike using the Mount Whitney Trail, which is a 22-mile round trip hike with an elevation climb of over 6,200 feet. This commonly used trail starts at the Whitney Portal (at 8,300 feet altitude) and ends at the summit of the mountain. If you are an experienced hiker, you can make it up the trail in five hours and back down in three. If you are a beginner, you can figure it will take at least ten hours up and eight back down. Just imagine yourself hiking up and down this trail. Even if you are an experienced hiker, it uses every ounce of energy you can muster. Your body aches, your mouth is dry, and likely your body is screaming at you, and once your mind and body hit that proverbial “brick wall,” you begin to wonder if the trail ahead is just too difficult to finish the climb.
Okay, so not many of us have the desire to hike up a mountain. But we do find ourselves in real life situations that are often just as challenging as hiking up the side of a mountain. Maybe you face a major decision regarding a job. You just left the doctor’s office and have been told that you have cancer or some other serious illness. You come home from work and find syringes in your teenager’s room. You are addicted to pain meds and you find yourself spiraling downhill fast. Your pastor has asked you to join a team moving to Africa to help build clean water wells, but it will mean leaving everything behind. Or maybe the decision you face is not as life changing as the ones just mentioned, but it does seem overwhelming nonetheless. Where do you turn for guidance?
When you think the road ahead is too steep and too difficult to climb, and you are worn down and seemingly out of options, you can trust God to lead you and guide you. These next words are part of a prayer that the prophet Jeremiah prayed when he had doubts and fears when facing a difficult decision. In Jeremiah 32:17 we read these reassuring words – “Ah, Sovereign LORD, you have made the heavens and the earth (see Gen 2:1) by your great power and outstretched arm (see Jer 27:5). Nothing is too hard for you (see Gen 18:14.)”
So no matter how difficult the decision is you that you face, or how steep and rugged the trail ahead looks, you can rest assured that God is with you. He promises to carry your burdens (Ps 68:19) by taking that heavy backpack off your back and He promises to give you rest (Mt 11:28-30) like the water stations that are on the trail up the mountain.
Wise people do not hike up a mountain without a guide to assist them and you should not hike through life without a Guide either! Where do you turn for guidance?
New Bern, North Carolina