I’ve done a lot of hiking.
In my younger days it was primarily along the Appalachian Trail. Years later, I hiked through the mountains of the Southwestern United States.
Which was more enjoyable? Personally, I found hiking in the Southwestern U.S. much more rewarding. Why? Because there are grand views and vistas all along the way. At nearly every point on the upward trail one can turn and survey the distance covered and the progress made.
Conversely, hiking in the Appalachian Mountains proved very frustrating. In the Appalachians, especially in the Southeastern United States, the hiker can go for miles and miles without ever seeing a “vista.” They rarely reach an overlook from which the hiker can view the grandeur of surrounding mountains and appreciate the distance he’s traveled. Instead, dense vegetation envelopes the hiker. They may climb higher and sweat bullets. They may even reach the top of the mountain. But they almost never comes to a clearing from which he can scan his progress.
Oftentimes life is like hiking in the dense vegetation of the Appalachian Mountains. For long stretches the afflictions we face, the sacrifices we make, and the disappointments we suffer seem to make no sense and offer no reward. The fruit of our labor remains hidden. We toil but cannot see any progress. We yearn for a vista, a chance to see the purpose of our sorrows and tribulation. Instead we are forced to walk on by faith and not by sight.
But one day, we will reach that vista and see how far we’ve come. God will help us to see and understand—in this life and most surely in the life to come. The disjointed pieces, the delays, and the failures will all have meaning and we will be glad we went through them. Best of all, we will realize how we have personally grown and become like Christ.
So, please, don’t get discouraged and don’t turn off the trail. Keep moving forward. Your patience and faithfulness will be rewarded. “Though the vision tarries, wait for it, for it will certainly come and it will not delay” (Hab. 2:3).
Dear Father in heaven, I get so weary of my unrewarded labor. I yearn so deeply for a glimpse of the glory that shall be revealed in me. Please, grant me vision to see beyond my present trials, that I might understand what I may become. In the meantime, help me to walk by faith and to trust in Your unsearchable wisdom. Amen.