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An Easy Hike Up the Mountain

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, with Mount McKinley at just over 20,200 feet in elevation being the highest. (Mount McKinley’s native name is Denali, which means “The High One.”)

mountain_climbing_01You 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. It you are an experienced hiker, you can make it up the trail in five hours and back down in 3. If you are a beginner, you can figure it will take at least 10 hours up and 8 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, “What were you thinking!” Once your mind and body hits 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, run a triathlon, or test ourselves in any number of other extreme sports. 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 illness. You come home from work and find syringes in your teenager’s room. Just last week you got ten calls from creditors wanting paid and you have no idea where you will find the money to pay them. 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 (think Mount Whitney), you can rest assured that God is with you and wants to guide your every step. 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.

Most hikers do not hike up the mountain without a guide to assist them on their trek and you should not hike through life without a Guide either! Where do you turn for guidance? And as the prophet Jeremiah believed, there is nothing too hard for God!

Dave Garrett

Twin Rivers Vineyard Church, New Bern, North Carolina

2/28/2016

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