It was the fourth hour of the hike that did me in.
The final quarter-mile to the summit stretched upward, paved with skewed boulders on an endless incline. Sides cramping, heels tingling with the continuous scrape of broken skin, I trudged up the mountainside.
My heart thudded as I climbed the final steps toward the looming fire tower. The treetops thinned and the air cooled. Panting for breath, I turned to take in the infamous view that boasted a vantage of four states. Nothing was there but chalky clouds.
Scaling the tower steps, I peered through the open windows. Gauzy tendrils of clouds flitted past me. I couldn’t see anything. I stomped down the stairs and surveyed the descent before me. What was the point of all that work and all that pain to see nothing but haze? Even worse, it wasn’t over. Six miles down the mountain awaited me.
James urges us in James 1:4, “Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” I certainly wasn’t being mature as I pouted my way down the mountainside, but when I reached the bottom, something happened.
I looked back and saw the mountain I had climbed. My legs were stiff and burning, an aching reminder of the labor my body had just performed. No, I hadn’t been rewarded for my efforts, but muscles had ripped so they could grow. I was strengthened by the exercise as I persevered.
I now see how much this resembles life. We travel rocky terrain at different points, and it can be difficult to understand the purpose without a tangible resolution.
When God lets us face trials in life, He is doing something inside us that is mostly invisible. We are being changed—strengthened through adversity. We are being built up in Him so we can be better tools for His kingdom work. The tangible evidence comes with time as we face new challenges and are better able to persevere.
Trust God in the adversity. When He is done with you, you will lack nothing.
(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)
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