For any of you who follow my writings, I love and feel inspired by nature. So when my husband mentioned a desire to trek to the highest peak in Oklahoma, I did some additional research. The Black Mesa peak sits in the rural panhandle of my state, so very remote. I felt intrigued. This hike was not a simple feat, especially as we approach 60 years of age and not in the best of shape. Would we be able to complete the nearly nine-mile journey that gained over 800 feet in elevations?
The day arrived, and we made the drive to the trailhead. We observed no others around as we took in the view. My heart raced with the thoughts of what lay ahead. We kept reminding ourselves that all we had to do is put one foot in front of the other. So we began. I noticed the sandy path we trod contained the imprints from the feet of those who went before us. I wondered if those prints reflected their success in the feat or disappointment. The more we walked through the barren land, the more I thought about these footprints in the sand and the path each took.
One thing that crossed my mind was Carolyn Joyce Carty’s poem titled “Footprints in the Sand.” This beautiful poem looks at the steps in life and the times the Lord carries us. And, boy, did I wish He would carry me now. But then my thoughts went in a different direction. Some tracks reflected the onward journey while others showed the return. What did the marks of these feet on this narrow dusty trail tell me about the journey of people who made them?
The trail to the top weaved and climbed through the sandy soil. Rocks and ruts forced us to concentrate on each step. One wrong placement of our feet would send us stumbling, just like our path through life. But, when I follow God’s ways, He promises to uphold me like in Psalm 17:5 (NIV); “My steps have held to your paths; my feet have not stumbled.” As we plodded along this narrow path to the peak, I realized that not many people made this journey. We never saw another person on the six-hour trip. And, like our faith walk, God explains the importance of not following others down the wrong path in life. Matthew 7:13 (NIV); “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.” Following the crowd may not lead us to Christ.
Heavy rains or strong winds could wash away any record of our journey from the path. The tracks I saw could disappear at any moment. After our hike, we also visited a set of dinosaur tracks nearby. Do I leave behind permanent marks for others to follow? Does the path I follow in life leave a trail to eternity? God wants us to leave a legacy of faith for the generations to come, a route that will not get washed away. Psalm 78:6 (NIV); “so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children.”
Difficulties of the Feat
At times on the walk, I questioned whether or not I could continue. I think the task was more difficult than I expected. Steep inclines left me gasping. At each mile marker, a bench offered us a chance to rest. As we spotted them in the distance, the prize of an opportunity to rest beckoned us to keep going a little further. Sometimes, difficult times in life can feel this way too. Two verses can remind us where to find strength. Psalm 119:28 (NIV); “My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to your word.” And. Isaiah 40:29 (NIV); “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.”
The Feat Completed
We did it. The route took us almost six hours to complete. Tired and sore, we limped the final few steps to the car and collapsed into our seats. But, no pain or ache could dull the smiles and sense of accomplishment we felt. We congratulated each other and rewarded ourselves with a pizza for dinner. One day, we will complete our race on this planet. And, if we kept the faith, we can feel like Timothy in 2 Timothy 4:7 (NIV); “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” God will also reward us for our endurance as we see in James 1:12 (ESV); “Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.”
I loved the trial presented by this hike. I spent much of my time seeking God in the solitude and the difficulties of the journey. God, ever faithful, showed me new lessons and strengthened me. He related the path to my journey of faith. God reminded me of the importance of leaving a trail of faith for others to follow and one that can withstand the winds and rains of destruction. Finally, God taught me He would reward me for my endurance. Time spent alone with God will always give us a new perspective on life and faith. Keep looking for His message in the world around us.
“5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”Proverbs 3:5-6
Heavenly Father, help me to make time to listen to Your teaching. Show me Your ways in life and help me stay the course. Thank you for walking this journey with us. I praise Your Holy Name. Amen.
Grace and Peace to you
Yvonne M. Morgan is a Christian author, blogger, and speaker.
Matthew 28:19 “Therefore, GO and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.”
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