>By Allen White

You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. Hebrews 10:36

On a beautiful Saturday a few weeks ago, our family decided to go on a hike at Jones Gap. We didn’t have a trail map, but we had a trail head and that was good enough. Our little clan of five, the youngest is three, headed out. And then, we reached a fork in the road.

The blue trail was five miles long. The red trail was shorter and led to Rainbow Falls. The kids were all for it. We set out like Dora the Explorer: across the streams, up the mountain, to the waterfall. About 30 minutes later, legs were beginning to ache. Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea.

I began to interview hikers on their way down the mountain. They confirmed that the falls were too far for them (no three-year-olds in their pack), but the top of the mountain had a great view. So, we were off to the top of the mountain.

We climbed higher and higher, but we weren’t quite reaching the very top of the mountain. I asked another hiker how much higher the trail went. He told me that we were about as high as we would go, but that the falls were only five minutes ahead. What?

With renewed momentum, our family made our way to Rainbow Falls. There was jubilation. “We did it. We did it. We did it. Hurrah!” But, what had we done?

Once we made it back to the car (only 80 minutes after the trails were closed, but who’s counting?), I decided to investigate what we did. I discovered that we had hiked for five miles, ascended 1,000 feet, and had conquered a “strenuous” hike. It’s a good thing we didn’t know that going in. “We can’t do that Rainbow Falls trail. It’s a strenuous hike. Our kids are nine, five and three. We’d better stay on the easy trail to Jones Gap Falls.” You know what I’m saying.

As a result of that day, our family is ready for another hike. We probably won’t conquer the “highly strenuous” trek to the top of Table Rock just yet. But, we are confident in tackling anything that is strenuous or less. Not a bad start for a three-year-old.

Going into our hike, we knew that we were going to hike at Jones Gap. We didn’t know exactly what to expect. We didn’t know exactly where we were going. We didn’t always believe that we would go the whole way. But, we kept going.

Our lives are much the same. As believers, we know that we will follow God. We know that we want to fulfill God’s vision for our lives. We don’t know all of the twists and turns. We don’t know how far there is to go or what obstacles we might face. But, what we do know is that God has a plan, and we’re in it.

What seems impassable in your life these days? Where are you running out of steam? What appears too strenuous to climb? Don’t give up. The payoff might be just around the corner.

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