Recently I was on a hike out here where I live in Colorado. This was at an altitude of 9,000+ feet so there was less oxygen, making it harder to breathe. Combined with the 5+ miles of walking and the further gain in altitude as the hike progressed, I was getting really tired towards the end. It was getting harder and harder just to keep putting one foot in front of the other as I got more weary from the journey.
The very last part of the hike had an even steeper incline I almost had to scramble up, which prevented me from being able to see anything else beyond it at that moment. But as I scrambled up the last part of that steep uphill portion, suddenly I was at the top. And what a stunningly breathtaking view!
I think our walk in life, and especially our faith walk with Jesus, is very similar to what I experienced on that hike. We set out on a given course and journey, knowing at some level from the start that there is an end goal in mind. But along the way we can become increasingly weak, tired, and weary. We begin to wonder if we’re ever going to reach the “top of our mountain”, and ask ourselves if it will be worth it even if we do. The terrain around us many times obscures our vision to see right beyond the seemingly endless march we’re on.
Because of the sheer cliff walls surrounding us, we can’t see how close we are to the goal. We can be tempted to give up and stop before we’ve reached the destination, sometimes at a point where we are mere steps away from a stunning view at the top that will instantly make the arduous journey worth it. In one moment, the weariness we’ve been carrying in our bodies and souls is immediately and completely replaced by intoxicating invigoration from the awe and wonder of the beauty we are suddenly seeing.
This is similar to the process of childbirth. “When a woman gives birth, she has a hard time, there’s no getting around it. But when the baby is born, there is joy in the birth. This new life in the world wipes out memory of the pain. The sadness you have right now is similar to that pain, but the coming joy is also similar.” (John 16:21, MSG). When we have a calling, dream, vision, or goal that God has implanted within our hearts we can feel “pregnant with desire”.
And just like that 5-mile hike or a 9-month pregnancy, we know to some extent before we start the process that there is a defined end point. But along the way, as the hike gets steeper or the contractions become more intense, it can become easy to lose sight of that desired end state because of the obstacles blocking our view of it and the pain involved in getting there. When we’re walking by faith and not by human sight we don’t always know how much longer or further we have to go.
I just read a verse that speaks to this process from the book of Habakkuk. Habakkuk was an Old Testament prophet who was becoming increasingly frustrated and impatient with what he perceived as a total lack of any visible progress in God’s vision and promises coming to pass. He brought his complaint to God, and God answered him thus: “This vision-message is a witness pointing to what’s coming. It aches for the coming–it can hardly wait! And it doesn’t lie. If it seems slow in coming, wait. It’s on its way. It will come right on time.” (Habakkuk 2:3, MSG).
This really encourages me right now as I’m on my own spiritual journey of waiting for the vision and promises God has given me, some of which seem very slow in coming. Through this scripture, the Spirit of God breathed new hope and expectation into my heart. This not only gives me confidence that the journey will be worth it in the end, but it also gives me a fresh burst of supernatural energy and inspiration right now to keep putting one foot in front of the other for as long as it takes.
I’ve personally found that the Kingdom of God seems to work on more of an exponential or logarithmic scale than a linear one. One of the principles of the Kingdom is seed, time, and harvest. As it’s been said, it usually looks and feels more like “Seed, tiiiiiiiiimmmmee..and harvest”. At first, it seems like there’s no visible upward progress on the graph. But as we just stay consistent day after day in walking the path with Him over what seems like a long period of “flatline” trajectory, suddenly–sometimes instantaneously–we hit that part of the curve where we experience upward exponential increase.
In Galatians 6:9, the Apostle Paul encourages us with this: “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” As I experienced on that hike, sometimes the biggest breakthroughs come right after the most difficult, uphill part of the journey. The old cliché is many times right: “It gets darkest right before the dawn”. Keep walking by faith and be encouraged that your breakthrough could be right around the corner. But regardless of how close or far you are from the goal, God is waiting to speak life into your body and soul to sustain you in whatever part of the journey you’re on right now.
Personal application: Ask and expect God to give you a personal word of fresh hope and inspiration for whatever circumstance you now find yourself. Similarly to Habakkuk, write it down and make it plain so that you and others can “run with it”. Then please share your revelation and testimonies here and elsewhere with others to encourage them in their own walk.
Subscribe to the mailing list to get two encouraging emails per week, the weekly blog post and the weekly podcast. These will be sent straight to your inbox so you'll never miss an episode or article.
As a free bonus, you will receive a full-length teaching by Ryan Haley entitled "Finding Your Sweet Spot", about how to find your deepest fulfillment and greatest effectiveness in work and life. Sign up now!
This blog post is about a topic that is different from what I usually…
No matter how many times I have this thought, it continually amazes…
As I shared in last week’s blog post, the Divine Mandate for my life…
I recently had a conversation with someone very close to me, who is…
When things are difficult (such as this current time with the…