My husband is my favorite cheerleader! Today is our 20th anniversary and I have to brag on him a bit. If you’ve taken a look at the website, or ordered a book and noticed the logo stamped on the bag or envelope, you are seeing the fruit of his labors. He is the graphics guy, I can take zero credit for those things.
Writing the book was his idea. He knew it would be a challenging project, but he also never doubted my ability to finish it. He doesn’t just push, he encourages along the way. Every time I wanted to give up, he gave me space to process my emotions on the subject. Every time I got stuck in the process he helped me find a way out. Last week we got away for a few days and did some hiking in the Blue Ridge Mountains.
The Road Less Traveled
On the last full day of our trip, we hiked a trail that was marked “Strenuous”. It started out fine, but before we even reached the halfway point I was ready to turn back. He encouraged me to keep going. He gave me time to rest, He found chocolate in his bag (a snack he had brought for himself) and gave it to me. All in an effort to encourage me to keep going even when it was hard. He has been this way since the beginning of our marriage. He can be intense at times, but even in his intensity, he is kind.
Similar to this hike, in our journey with God, there will be times it feels easier to give up and turn around. To go back to the smooth, flat, paved path of life. But Oh the things we will miss if we do that! If we turned back in our journey when it got hard we would have missed meeting our daughter, we would not have some of the incredible friendships we have today, and we would not have seen victories through prayer that we have seen over the years.
In life, there will be times when sacrifice is required to keep following Jesus and where He leads. He never promised it would be an easy, smooth, path. In fact, He says there will be hard things to walk through. It’s basically a guarantee that life won’t be smooth sailing.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you WILL have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
John 16:33 is one of my favorite verses in the Bible. Because it is so true and I”ve seen it play out in my life over and over again! Rarely is life smooth and easy. It’s often hard and full of difficult circumstances to navigate. But, we are not without hope! Jesus has overcome the world. There is nothing we face that He is not able to help us through. There is never a time when He leaves us to figure it out on our own. He is with us through it all. Not everyone we meet will be up to this challenge of taking the less traveled road. It can seem lonely because taking the harder path sometimes means taking it alone, but the reward for sticking with it in the hard times is great! Even if we don’t recognize it until later.
Streams of Refreshing
When we finally made it to the halfway point of our hike there was this sweet reward. A beautiful and serene waterfall. It was secluded off the beaten path. There were few people who made the trek. So we had a few moments to just rest and take in the beauty all around us. It was quiet except for the sound of the water rushing over the edge. We found a rock to sit on at the edge of the waterfall. We ate a snack and soaked our tired feet in the cool, refreshing water. But the journey wasn’t over. This was only the halfway point. We still had to make it back up to the trailhead. We had descended 1300 feet to get to the waterfall, and now we had to make our way back up.
The trail was narrow, and difficult in spots. It was steep and rocky, but along the way, there were these sections of flat, wide trail. In those sections the ground under our feet was soft and we had a chance to catch our breath before going back to the hard. During the hike, I just wanted to get back to the car. When we finally made it back, I started looking through the pictures I had taken along the way. I was surprised to see a rainbow across the bottom of the waterfall. I didn’t see a rainbow when we were there, but somehow my phone had captured it. A rainbow is a reminder of God’s promises.
Jesus never promised an easy life. He does promise to lead us to streams of refreshing and be with us along the way. Keep pushing forward in your journey with God. Keep pursuing Him even when the trail is difficult. The reward for staying the course is great! I am so thankful my Jesus loves me enough to stay by my side even when I want to give up. And I am so thankful my husband takes me on difficult paths to beautiful waterfalls. The reward is great! Stay the course!
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