trails and trials

I stayed at The Oaks camp this past weekend with the Meitler family in Southern California. They told me about a cross on the top of a hill near the front of the camp, and I was determined to go see it. Sunday morning came, everyone was busy getting ready for church, and we would be leaving within the hour, so I knew I would have to go right then or never. No regrets.

I started off down the "Cross Trail," or rather, up the Cross Trail. It was already a pretty hot day, and I'm not much of an endurance climber anyway. About 60 seconds into the hike, I seriously considered whether I really wanted to be doing this. But I knew that I could convince myself to quit, so I kept moving. Three or four minutes later, as my calves burned, throat hurt, and thighs ached from the steep incline, I was so tempted to turn around and slide down. Every second, I thought "it must be right around the corner," and it wasn't. I kept hearing rustling in the bushes and thinking it must be a snake, and it never was, but the fear made me oh-so-ready to run back down the mountainside.

Then I turned the last corner. There was the cross, shining in the morning sunlight. It could have been raining, hailing, or blistering hot like it was - that cross would have given me the same feeling of joy and fulfillment as it did then. The rough terrain and rocky, painful climb was a dim memory already. I was so glad I had finished the trek, because it was so worth it.

Maybe you're on a path right now that is not the cake-walk you expected. Especially if you're following a calling you know God placed on your life, it may be hard and confusing when the way is rocky and rough. Maybe it's not your thighs that are aching, but your heart. But let my little experience with the Cross Trail remind you that the goal you are climbing toward is worth it. While it is still around the corner and not before our eyes, we forget the value of what He has called us to do. We get focused on the trial of the trail.

But when you turn that corner, on earth or in Heaven, the struggles will grow dim in the fullness of His redemption as depicted in that cross.

And your legs will be stronger to climb another mountain trail for the glory of God.


  1. Thanks for this, Shelby! It's such an encouragement! :)


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