Have you done something and regretted it, or did you learn from it and grew stronger? My husband and I are hiking the Mid State Trail (MST) from Maryland to New York. We are now section hiking our way down to Maryland. Every hike is an adventure with many challenges and surprises. Today’s hike was especially difficult, but there were many pleasant surprises. I was reminded of how hiking relates to life. Some people persevere with a positive attitude through difficulties and disappointments., and some people cave to depression and anger. To be honest, I tend to yield towards depression and anger, but with God’s help, I am learning to be thankful and seek His strength.
Make Sure You Follow The Right Path
A map is the most important thing you need when you go on a hike, but you need to make sure you are using the correct map. We need the Bible to guide us on the right path of life that will lead us to eternal life. When you walk the wrong path, you find dead ends and difficulties. For example, we began a ten-mile hike that went through a farm. To my delight, I saw a newborn calf. We were the first people he saw.
Further down the trail, we saw some remarkable fungi formations. After hiking to the top of the mountain, we realized we did not see any more trail blazes. We walked back and forth, trying to see if the trail took a turn we did not see. We look at our map many times. I was very disappointed and sad. I prayed for God to help us find the path, but He didn’t answer my prayer.
Expect Disappointments and be Flexible
We finally gave up and went back down the mountain to our car. I was tired, and my muscles hurt. Life is like this hike. You never know what difficulties and surprises lie ahead on the road of life. Expect disappointments and learn to be flexible. Expect that God will not always give you the requests you ask of Him. Most of all, find something you can be thankful for. My husband and I changed our plans. We later discovered the MST Association changed the trailhead to the other side of the mountain but did not blacken the trail blazes for the abandoned tail route or update their trail notifications. We might think we are on the right path in life, but when it leads nowhere, we have to backtrack and find the path we should be on.
We wasted a good portion of the day on the abandoned trail, so we decided to do a shorter section of the trail, we planned to do another day. This part of the trail also had surprises and difficulties. Not only did we have a hot road walk through Everett, but then the trail took us down a weedy railroad bed with briars and thistles that wrapped around our ankles, and I only had shorts on, ouch. To our surprise, we found two recliners sitting along the trail. The path that life takes us may be filled with difficulties and unpleasant things, but perseverance and having an attitude of gratitude and expectation will help you endure. I often tell myself, “This too will pass.” Covid19 and all the hardships will pass, so don’t despair, but through prayer, keep your eyes on God, our eternal guide.
Sometimes Life Can be Rocky
Hiking through Pennsylvania requires a lot of rock hiking, which is very challenging and tiring. You need to watch where you step and make sure the rock is stable, plus you need to watch out for rattlesnakes. If you take your eyes off where you step, you will end up falling or stepping on a snake. I have done many snake dances. Next week, I will tell you about the yellow-phase rattlesnake we encountered in another hike. Often, life leads you down rocky stretches but keep your eyes on the path by reading your Bible. Proverbs 119:105 says that the Word of God is a light to your path and a lamp for your steps.
Life Will Have Challenges
Hiking up and down mountains is very challenging, especially when we hiked from the bottom of the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon to the top. It was so steep and high that I didn’t know if I could make it. I prayed for God to give me the strength to make it. At times, I had to walk up backward and push with my hiking staff to give my calf muscles a break. Life can also be challenging, and you will need to rely on the Lord’s strength to help you make it. God will not give you strength until you seek it and put your trust in His ability. Psalm 18:32 “The God who equipped me with strength and made my way blameless.” Psalm 73:26 “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”
I will share more next week.