God will help us overcome the trials in our lives, no matter how difficult the climb.
Source: Janet Treadway
This year I had the wonderful opportunity to travel with my family to Panajachel, Guatemala, for the Feast of Tabernacles (Leviticus 23:33-43). We rented a beautiful house in the mountains, overlooking Lake Atitlán. Unfortunately, I was so smitten by the photos of the house and the view from the house of the beautiful lake, I forgot to look at the fine print before booking. To get to the house you had to go down 275 steps. Well, we figured no problem, we could adapt.
Going down the steps was a little tricky as well because most of the time we were going down them in the dark. We had to climb those steps every day to get to the garage to go to church. On top of being out of shape, the altitude was much higher, which made the huffing and puffing worse. I had to rest after a few steps and then climb a few more. I counted each step so that I would know how many more steps I had left to climb. What was pleasant was the view at each level. It seemed to make the climb more bearable.
But overall, the climb was rough and I hated it and dreaded it. It seemed it took forever to get to the top, but when I did I felt great, just like after a workout.
A spiritual parallel
Those 275 steps to the top reminded me of our trials in life. As a Christian, we know our goal is to be in God’s Kingdom, but we also know it is not always easy. When trials come rolling into our lives unexpectedly, they can literally knock the wind out of us and knock us flat on our backs. We huff and puff to get up, to get going again, and headed onward up the mountain. Many times we feel we cannot make it any longer. But we just keep climbing toward God’s Kingdom, sometimes just one step at a time; sometimes we are able to take many steps, and sometimes we just have to sit down and rest for a moment, but we get going again!
No matter what trial we find ourselves in—health troubles, financial woes, relationship crises—if we will settle into the “nevertheless” mindset and seek to do His will and move forward, He will come to our rescue and work all things together for our good. God is always with us—even in the trials. He will never leave us. He will never forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6). He understands the emotions we are experiencing because He has also experienced them.
We must keep that faith, not just in times of peace, but in times when life feels horrible. There are times we wanted to give up or choose another path at the Feast. Wow, I would have rather chosen another path, another way to get to the top and the road, but those horrible steps were the only way up.
Walking up those steps each day made me physically stronger, and I even lost weight. Trials in our life build spiritual muscles. Every time we progress to the next level, we grow in faith and become closer to God. Every time I made it to the top of those steps, I felt energized!
Going down those steps was a challenge as well, because I was afraid I would fall. I ran across this scripture during the Feast, “The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand” (Psalm 37:23-24, New International Version). It seemed that God was encouraging me to get beyond my fear.
The key is persistence while remembering God’s promises
While climbing or descending those steps, I had to stop and take a rest. I did that often. I wanted to just quit! I was too tired. But I thought of a poem, which has been a great encouragement to me through the years. It’s titled “Don’t Quit!” I will share it with you. Here is the original poem in its entirety:
When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you're trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest, if you must, but don't you quit.
Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about,
When he might have won had he stuck it out;
Don't give up though the pace seems slow--
You may succeed with another blow.
Often the goal is nearer than,
It seems to a faint and faltering man,
Often the struggler has given up,
When he might have captured the victor's cup,
And he learned too late when the night slipped down,
How close he was to the golden crown.
Success is failure turned inside out--
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far,
So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit--
It's when things seem worst that you must not quit.
- Author unknown
Well, I didn’t quit and each day, when I got to the top of the steps, I was rewarded with an even more spectacular view than from the house. The wonderful view of God’s creation reminded me of Psalms 23, ”The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
It was worth the climb for me during the Feast. Our trials are worth the climb, even though at the time it may not seem so.
So whatever you are going through, keep climbing, keep moving forward. Rest if you must, but don’t quit, because the reward that awaits you is spectacular! And remember God will never leave you! As He says in Isaiah 41:10, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (NIV).
If you find yourself struggling with the trials of this life, please request our free, encouraging study aid Why Does God Allow Suffering?