“This is the worst day of my life” and “I hate this”, our youngest daughter made these declarations at least fifty times as we trudged through mud soup (up to our knees), climbed slick rocks, being ambushed by mosquitos, after paddling UP the river for two miles. The hiking excursion for our family of five was quickly becoming a nightmare. As an added bonus, Randy and I had to carry dry packs with items we needed for the “adventure”. Having limited knowledge of what was necessary, I loaded us up with 10 frozen water bottles, 5 large towels, lunch food, snacks, sunscreen, bug spray….you name it, I had it, and IT was all on our backs! Randy took the brunt of the load, being the gentleman that he is.
Just keeping our shoes on was an ordeal as we sloshed in mud. In order to keep our water shoes on we had to slide rather than take steps. It looked like we were in the ice capades (a comedy version), only we were covered in mud and we skated wildly, often flapping our arms to prevent falling. My family fell…a lot….more than we would like to remember. It’s NEVER good to laugh when someone falls. I know this, but seriously, it was all so ridiculous, I could hardly control myself! It was either laugh or cry. 😆 The tour guides taunted us with songs on their ukuleles, songs like “Stairway to Heaven” and the theme from Mario Bros. They did all the same stuff we were doing, only they were barefoot, while playing their ukuleles. Show offs!😜By the time we got to the prize, a giant waterfall, we were a little cranky. Well, more than a little!
I won’t lie and tell you it was worth it, no waterfall is worth that! We sat there uninspired by the beauty surrounding us, in the rain, nursing our bruises, scrapes and sore muscles, chewing on soggy sandwiches, applying semi-frozen water bottles to mosquito welts that were beginning to form. Our enthusiasm was lackluster for sure. Our minds were haunted by the fact we now had to turn around and do it ALL again!😳 Ashlyn’s return slogan became, “I would rather pet a shark then do this!” She said it with great gusto so all ears could hear and she absolutely meant it.
We made it back alive, in disbelief over what we had just paid money to do. No one was laughing by the end, not even me….but, we finished.
Life can feel the same way at times. We feel overwhelmed by what life is serving up, and just when we think we’ve made it through the paddling, we hit the mud and mosquitoes….and then it gets worse. Everyone goes through those harrowing, nail biting, heart hurting times. But they don’t last forever. All good things, and bad ones, come to an end. At the end we can wonder what it was all for? Why all the struggling, pain and sorrow? Where’s our prize at the end? Maybe the prize is in the surviving, in the pressing on and pressing in. God does His best work in us through the mud pits and steep slopes of life.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed and incapable by what lies ahead of you, press into Jesus, my friend. You are NOT alone and it won’t last forever. When it’s all said and done, you are going to be stronger, wiser, and if you choose to be, closer to Jesus. Keep padding, keep hiking, keep getting up when you slip and fall. He will help you, just ask. Someday the challenging journey you are on will only be a memory. What a story you will have to tell. You can do ALL things!
Phil. 3:14~Press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Gal.6:9~Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
James 1:12~Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.