Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. -Romans 5:3-5
For most people, the hike up to Emerald Lake won’t kill them. It’s not a strenuous hike, but it does take effort. And if you are like me, it takes quite a bit more effort than, say, the rest of the youth group whom you are hiking with. If you are like me, you will be the last one in your group to make it to the top. But you will make it. And it will be worth it.
In many ways, I think I keep viewing life as one long, tiring hike. It’s not impossible, but it is all slightly uphill and sometimes quite steep and there are plenty of spots along the way in which it seems to make more sense to just turn around and go back already, but that seems silly because when you’ve been hiking for so long, you are bound to eventually get there and what if there is just around the next switch back? Why would you turn back when you’ve gone so far?
The thing is this: we can’t see what’s ahead. There’s no way to know if we’re really almost there. When I was much younger, I had this idea that by the time I reached the age at which I currently am, I would probably be there. Now I’m beginning to wonder if there doesn’t get to be reached in this present lifetime, and instead of arriving, we’re called to continually climb, perhaps stopping occasionally to sit for a moment and take a sip of water, but to then get back up and continue.
The path is sometimes beautiful and sometimes really difficult, but still we climb. Sometimes it seems impossible, but why would we turn back now? We’ve come so far. There might be around the next turn. We can’t see it, we have no map telling us how far we still have to go, and yet we continue, trusting that when we finally reach it it will, in an instant, wipe out the struggle it took to get there.