This weekend I spent time away in the mountains with friends on our annual Girlfriend Getaway. Our retreat isn’t one of those vacations where you pack so many activities into the time that you end up more tired when get home than you were when you left.This mini-vacation is about resting, relaxing and reconnecting, so a lot of the time is spent simply talking and enjoying the outdoors. To that end, we planned a short hike in Black Shoals National Park on Saturday afternoon. When we arrived at the park, we spent a few minutes enjoying the cooler breeze that brought a little relief from the sweltering unseasonable heat and found that the refreshing air fueled us to head out on a trek along a nearby trail that led to the highest point in the park.
It was a perfect outing… until a thunderstorm rolled through and drenched our plans. At the point the downpour started, we were too far into the hike to turn around, so our only real option was to keep going. As the rain and thunder increased and we splashed up the trail, checking our footing with every step, I couldn’t help but compare our adventure to how a walk with God often feels.
Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.~ James 1:4
While it’s true that if given the choice, we’d prefer our path to be filled with sunshine and blue skies; cool temperatures and low humidity… and definitely, no rain… God knows that sometimes the best thing for us is to endure a good drenching along a slippery, muddy path with nowhere to go but forward. Those times are unpleasant, but the truth is that we learn much more by being forced to persevere through a difficult situation than we ever do when we are warm, dry and walking on flat level ground.
So if you are currently wiping the rain of trouble off your face and asking God to let you go back, it just might be that His will is for you to keep climbing up, knowing that the result of your perseverance will mature your faith and equip you for the future. But be assured, that even though you may feel like you are traveling your rocky road alone, God is close by and will never leave you or forsake you. (Heb. 13:5) Even when you can only see faint images of the endpoint through the rain-soaked fog, you can choose to follow the One who knows the end from the beginning, (Is. 46:10) and trust Him to guide you safely home.