One of my husband’s new favorite things to do is to hike.
I say “new” because there aren’t any mountains in the coastal town of Belgium where he grew up. Besides, he is legally blind in one eye and as a result, has very poor depth perception. This makes walking over rough terrain a challenge in the best of times!
He is, however, an avid photographer, and he has learned that the best pictures are usually found along some strenuous trail somewhere. As a result, the pain of the climb is completely nullified by the joy of the picture opportunities.
An interest in photography does not, however, a human “mountain goat” make. Rather, that is an inborn ability, one that he is sure I was born with, and one that he is certain I passed on at 200% magnitude to our boys. Loosely translated, where you might see the boys scampering up a sheer cliff with their mother proceeding at a cautious rate a respectable distance behind, you will see their father near the bottom, testing the ground with his foot for stability before stepping out.
Using rocks or trees for stability, my husband has conquered all moderate and most moderately-difficult trails. He still struggles, however, on difficult and extreme paths. Not that he lets it daunt him. It is, in fact, very rare for him to give up. Instead, when faced with a section of trail that he doesn’t feel comfortable crossing, he simply waits for one of us to return, give him a hand, and lead him safely to the other side of the difficult spot.
Has my husband suddenly been overcome by masochism?
Not at all. He has simply learned that the most difficult hikes usually end in the most beautiful views with the best photo opportunities.
We all face extremely difficult “trails” on a daily basis. In some rare cases, we can simply choose to avoid them; but in most cases, we don’t have that choice. Instead, we are forced to take them as we battle cancer, relationship problems, financial difficulties, loss of job, even death…Can we, like my husband, learn to enjoy these difficult times? Can we, at the end of the day, call these problems a “highlight” of our lives?
There is only one way that we can come to view the difficult valleys in life in the way my husband has come to view hiking, and that is by trusting in the help that we have been given along the way. Just as he waits for one of us to give him a hand over the tough spots, we, too, have help: Jesus Christ. When we put our trust in Him, He doesn’t just give us a hand; rather, He carries us through! And at the end of the day, there will be something beautiful, something that makes the valley experience well worthwhile, for “He has made everything beautiful, in His time.” (Eccl. 3:11), and “…we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Rom. 8:28).
My husband may not know this yet, but he and I have “Mt. Everest” on our “bucket list”…Anyone care to join us for some outstanding photo opportunities?
In His love,
Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author — “Aboard God’s Train — A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer”, Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, andScriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, withAnswers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.