"THOSE WHO TRUST IN THE LORD FOR HELP WILL FIND THEIR STRENGTH RENEWED. THEY WILL RISE ON WINGS LIKE EAGLES; THEY WILL RUN AND NOT GET WEARY; THEY WILL WALK AND NOT GROW WEAK." ~Isaiah 40:31, GNT
No one had prepared her for this. True, she knew it wouldn't be an easy trek. And to be honest, her dreams had been all about the mountain peak and the panoramic views. Little thought had gone into the demands it would place on her.
But the steep climb as the air thinned had her wondering, was it really worth this much agony and hard work? The weight of her pack on her achy back side added to her disheartened mood and fueled her doubts.
She paused mid-stride and inhaled as deeply as she could, then reached for her canteen dangling on her backpack's frame. She was parched. Though the mountain air at such high elevation felt cool to her skin, the sun's uninhibited stream along this long stretch of the trail felt relentless. Beads of sweat on her brow were wiped away by her dusty sleeve, the same fabric she'd occupied for days.
Another high step over rocky terrain brought a new wave of pain to both feet. Blisters, now popped from the constant friction, would need tending to when she stopped for the day.
Her guide rested his hand on her shoulder. He'd been silent, respecting her need for peace and solitude. But the same wisdom that told him when to remain quiet also prodded him to speak words of encouragement when the time was right. "You can do this. We're getting close, less than a half a day away. TRUST ME, it'll be worth it."
She looked up into his face, his leathery tanned skin and eyes that seemed to dance with excitement. He didn't even look tired. But it was different for him; he'd made this trip many times before.
She looked down at the path beneath her, shaking her head in disbelief. I can't last that long, she thought. I don't know if I can take one more step.
"Come on! You can do this! TRUST ME."
She glanced at her guide again, feeling the crimson rise in her cheeks. Had he read her discouraged self-talk? Maybe it was written in her expression and posture.
"You've come so far. Don't give up now! I know you're in pain. And you're bone tired. But you have to TRUST ME. If you don't go all the way to the top, you'll regret it the rest of your life. Once you're there, you'll realize it was worth every ounce of effort and all the pain you're enduring."
His words sank in deep. She put one foot in front of the other, slowly at first, then worked her way up to a respectable pace. Though the pain was intensifying, it was no longer her focus. Now, all she could think about was the prize awaiting her.
Hours later, she stood at the top, bent over by exhaustion and the weight of her pack. Releasing the straps, she let it fall to her side, and stood straight, breathing in as deeply as the altitude would allow. Then, eyes open wide, she took a good long look all around her. Nothing could have prepared her for the beauty surrounding her on every side. She laughed in victorious delight, then hugged her guide with a renewed strength. Nestling onto a large rock, she sat down and drank in the view.
Copyright 2014 by Julie Cowell.
For those of you on a rugged and painful journey right now, may I encourage you? Don't give up! Our Guide is right there with you, encouraging you on. So am I. Remember, the harder the journey, the richer the treasure that awaits you if you stay the course. And here's His promise ~
"NO EYE HAS SEEN, NO EAR HAS HEARD, AND NO MIND HAS IMAGINED WHAT GOD HAS PREPARED FOR THOSE WHO LOVE HIM." ~1 Corinthians 2:9