275 Steps

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This year I had the wonderful opportunity to travel with my family to Panajachel, Guatemala, for the Feast of Tabernacles (Leviticus 23:33-43 Leviticus 23:33-43 [33] And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, [34] Speak to the children of Israel, saying, The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the feast of tabernacles for seven days to the LORD. [35] On the first day shall be an holy convocation: you shall do no servile work therein. [36] Seven days you shall offer an offering made by fire to the LORD: on the eighth day shall be an holy convocation to you; and you shall offer an offering made by fire to the LORD: it is a solemn assembly; and you shall do no servile work therein. [37] These are the feasts of the LORD, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, to offer an offering made by fire to the LORD, a burnt offering, and a meat offering, a sacrifice, and drink offerings, every thing on his day: [38] Beside the sabbaths of the LORD, and beside your gifts, and beside all your vows, and beside all your freewill offerings, which you give to the LORD. [39] Also in the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when you have gathered in the fruit of the land, you shall keep a feast to the LORD seven days: on the first day shall be a sabbath, and on the eighth day shall be a sabbath. [40] And you shall take you on the first day the boughs of goodly trees, branches of palm trees, and the boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook; and you shall rejoice before the LORD your God seven days. [41] And you shall keep it a feast to the LORD seven days in the year. It shall be a statute for ever in your generations: you shall celebrate it in the seventh month. [42] You shall dwell in booths seven days; all that are Israelites born shall dwell in booths: [43] That your generations may know that I made the children of Israel to dwell in booths, when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.
American King James Version×
). 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 Deuteronomy 31:6Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD your God, he it is that does go with you; he will not fail you, nor forsake you.
American King James Version×
). 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” (Psalms 37:23-24 Psalms 37:23-24 [23] The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delights in his way. [24] Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholds him with his hand.
American King James Version×
, 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:

Don't Quit
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 Isaiah 41:10Fear you not; for I am with you: be not dismayed; for I am your God: I will strengthen you; yes, I will help you; yes, I will uphold you with the right hand of my righteousness.
American King James Version×
, “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?