Ever since living in Puerto Rico the second time I have had a love for hiking. Having developed that passion, now, where ever we've lived I seek out new places to hike. But, ever since living in the state of Colorado hiking has become a means of worship. I do it for the chance to sit down at the end and marvel at and praise God for His creation. Now, as this winter has finally let go its grip for this season I'm anxious to get out and worship God again through His work. While I think about this I'm reminded of one place I have hiked that holds a special place in my heart ever since the first time I hiked it, Treman Falls in Ithaca New York.
It is a state park in my home town. Over the years I can remember going there in the summers to swim. But, this one time I decided to see what else the park had to offer. It was during the summer of my parents fiftieth anniversary and we had a family reunion. One day my father offered to take my wife and I and several nieces to go swimming. The water was too cold for me so I went for what I thought was a short hike. Treman is a gorge that goes up that mountain for about two miles. There were two trails, the hard one and the harder one. With camera in hand, but not knowing, I took the harder one.
Most of the trail was in the shade and from that point on it was generally a level walk. From time to time I stopped to take pictures and at one point I waded out to splash some water on my face to cool off. Yet, this part of the hike took me about two hours. So when I arrived at the first bridge across the creek, two thirds of the way up, I stopped to rest. My legs were shaky and the humidity dragged on my shoulders. I wanted to keep going, but my father would be worried, waiting at the bottom, and I was tired. So I decided to give up and go back down.
While I rested a couple came down from the top of the trail and stopped at the bridge too. They saw me taking some photos and struck up a conversation. For several minutes we talked pleasantries then I said that I had to go back down. They mentioned that the top was not far away and they offered me a ride back down. So, a few minutes climb, or almost an hour or more walking down on tired legs, it wasn't hard to choose. As we headed up I stayed close to them or they to me. At that point it was hard to tell. However, the reward was just a few minutes away.
From there the couple drove me back to the bottom. I found my father there, agitated but relieved. They were waiting on me to leave. After one quick plunge into the cold water to cool off we left. As we drove home I was reminded of 2 Corinthians 4:16-18. “So we do not loose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”
There will always be those obstacles to overcome in or lives. But, as the famous evangelist George Muller once said, “Be assured, if you walk with Him and look to Him, and expect help from Him, He will never fail you.” Just as Peter did when he kept his eyes on Christ, he was able to walk on water. But, when he looked away he fell into it. So, keep your gaze on Him and when life gets hard, He will be faithful to pull you through.