This past weekend I climbed a mountain. It was just the right amount of "difficult" as evidenced by my onerous breathing all the way up; and I had the privilege of experiencing the "good sweat" of typical gym rats, even though I'm confident that a proper lady would have described it as "divine glisten." People passed me and I passed people, heading up the mountain like the little ants we were, dodging crazy downhill runners who were selfishly and dangerously put us all in jeopardy. And for what? To behold some breathtaking vista that we could all enjoy from the comfort and safety of our own homes via a simple Google search? Peh. Certainly I was starting to doubt whether it was worth my own oxygen sacrifice. But I tell you, all I could do was plod on. What could I do? Turn around and say I only climbed half of a mountain? I might as well have climbed a mole hill. And MAN, that trail was quite the labyrinth of turns! I confess that I thought on more than one occasion, "Why am I not at the top yet? I can't even see the top. This must be the old site of the Tower of Babel because I'm pretty sure I'm going to walk right up to heaven. This is way harder than Google said it was going to be. Google lies. Google lies a lot. Can't I just get there already?" When I did finally summit (I'm a hiker now, we use that word), I realized that only forty five minutes had passed, that the view WAS in fact better in person than the pictures I had looked at online, and that everyone else was voicing some of my same reactions. I heard the following: "We made it!", "Hallelujah, hallelujah!", "Wait till those guys get up here, it's totally gonna be worth it." I sat there,nearly 1,600 feet above sea level, and marveled.
"Is this what it's gonna be like, Lord, when my faith finally becomes sight? When I'm in heaven with You? Will it all be so very worth it because of what my eyes will behold? I know there's gonna be celebrating, but will the exultations be sweeter because of the arduous path it takes to get there? Does it all have to be so very hard? Maybe the art of climbing a mountain is really about fixing my eyes on You, Author and Finisher of my faith (Hebrews 12:2), and gazing on You and Your beauty. Seeing with the eyes of faith now what I will behold then. Man, I get so fixed on the present, the seen, and the transient that I blind myself to You, to what You're doing, to WHO YOU ARE. You are my STRENGTH, enough to help me persevere until that awesome day. How am I not thanking You all the time for being my HOPE, for being Someone I can cling to? I'm sorry. Forgive me."
It was a beautiful moment we shared, and I felt like I understood my job right now is to plod on, with eyes fixed on him. The journey will be worth it because with every act of obedience, dependence and trust, I'm getting closer to Him and to that day when I will see Him.
Just as I started to head down, I heard this woman say to this other woman who was still climbing, "You're almost there, it's just like right around the corner." The woman responded, "Man, this is like the neverending story." I had to smile at the irony. She was almost right except for one thing. It's not the journey that's neverending, it's the destination. PRAISE THE LORD!