Thursday, August 12, 2010
Today I spent thirteen hours in the car! My wife and I are driving our two oldest kids from Vermont to South Carolina where they are enrolled in two different colleges. While sitting in traffic that was completely stopped on the highway because of an accident up the road, I began to think a little more fondly of my two day hike last week up Mt. Mansfield, which is the highest peak in Vermont. I have already written two blogs about that hike, so if you missed them, you might want to read THIS ONE FIRST and then read THIS ONE SECOND so you will know the context for the rest of this post.
Last week, after spending the night on a mountain in a rustic cabin with some other hikers, my son and I walked down the mountain the next day. The path down the mountain is normally a mixture of rock steps and dirt paths, but because of a heavy rainstorm the night before, that morning it was more like a river running down the side of the mountain. Since there was no other path to take, we trudged through the river and down the mountain all morning long. Though it was not quite as exhausting as going up the day before, we were still tired from our previous exertions and were moving fairly slowly. We had to be very careful where we stepped to keep from slipping on wet rocks, which was emotionally exhausting as well. After nearly three hours of making our way down the mountain under those difficult conditions, I came to a place where I was not sure I could keep going. I began looking around for a big rock to sit on for the rest of the day! Suddenly I heard a car in the distance and looked up from my despair and could just barely see a yellow line through the trees and realized I was almost at the road. That meant I was almost down the mountain! I fixed my eyes on that little strip of yellow barely visible through the trees and suddenly I found new energy and quickened my pace and completed the hike.
I think I felt the same way today, when after all those hours in the car, I finally saw that Welcome to Virginia sign that I was looking for. It meant I was almost at the end of today's journey and even though I was tired and have further travels tomorrow, I knew that once my eyes had seen that sign, I could make it the rest of the way.
My feelings about both my long hike last week and my long drive today remind me of Hebrews 12:2 – "Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." Jesus understood that He had to endure the pain of the cross in order to help us reach the end of life's journey and make it into eternity with Him. He kept His eyes fixed on the goal and we rewarded by being able to sit at the right hand of God's throne. We must keep our eyes fixed on Jesus and that will carry us all the way into eternity with Him. Sometimes we get tired and exhausted, but once glimpse of Jesus seems to re-energize us and keep us going until we can finally enter that eternal rest. The next time we are tired and feel like quitting, we must look up, fix our eyes and Jesus and remember that we are almost home.