The Hardest Hike
Moses spoke thus to the people of Israel, but they did not listen to Moses, because of their broken spirit and harsh slavery. Exodus 6:9
I have another addiction to confess. I love hiking. Vacation, to me, is getting up before dawn and striking out for hours on the trail. On almost every hike though, there is a moment, a mile or two in, when it just becomes work. The excitement wears off, I can’t see the mountain top and I think about turning back. At that point, I must remind myself that the hardest hike is always the one I am on right now. It will end though. I will get to the top and when I do, I will despair at the thought that I almost quit.
We are often hindered by our finite view. Being terminally short-sighted, we sensationalize the moment. When someone’s life unravels in addiction, he is a colossal disaster. When a he cleans up and goes to treatment, we declare him cured. Then, when he relapses, we again judge him to be a failure. Often, in the middle of a trial, the trial is all we can see. It is difficult to see the mountain top when we are gasping for breath, stumbling over tree roots.
The Israelites experienced this in today’s passage. God promised to free them from slavery, but their harsh conditions broke their spirit and shattered their faith. In the immediacy of their misery, they disbelieved God.
We must continually realize the folly of relying on circumstances to measure our eternal reality. If we judged the sum of our lives by any one moment, we could be monsters or heroes. Our lives though, are the sum of millions of moments, of which only God can see all.
Faith then, is not basing our life any one, miserable moment, but in looking to the God who sees and knows all moments. The hardest trial always seems to be the one we are in right now. This will end though. We will not remain in it forever. When it does end, we hope to look back and see that we embraced faith and not despair.