Don't Settle for the Park View
I recently spent a week in Salt Lake City, Utah. I went to grade Advanced Placement exams. It was eight hours of reading essays, and evenings of making new friends, hiking adventures, breweries, and getting lost. I went with three of my newfound friends to explore the capital, and we quickly decided that we needed to go higher. Needed to see a better view. It would be worth it!
As we hiked higher and higher, we ran into strangers and asked if we were going in the right direction. Were we going to the trail that proved to end in a majestic sunset over the city? They all assured us that we were. Head up towards the park in the distance and then get on the trail that goes even higher.
As we neared the entrance to the park and the beginning of a longer hike uphill, the guy in the group and I decided we wanted to break away and get on the trail immediately. We saw a large slope with a tiny trail and we started heading upwards while the other two ladies strolled up to the park entrance.
Half way up our steep incline (which I was later told was a plateau and not a mountain…I will call it a mountain for the sake of my pride), we realized we could only continue on our hands and knees as we were gripping rocks to keep from falling. Every fiber in my being wanted to turn around. It was more dangerous to go down than it was to continue on. But I still thought about it! Why do we always want to go back to Egypt? We see God's miracles and we live with His blessings in this fallen world, and yet we still grumble (Exodus 15, 16). Why do we always think that what we know is better than what is ahead? Why do we always return to slavery for fear of the unknown? Why are we always prepared to settle for the park view?
We made it to the top. Exhausted, thirsty, and with a little blood on my shirt. A few minutes later, the other ladies were also at the top. The park had an entrance with a trail that was partially paved and had steps. There was no crawling on all fours to see the view for those ladies. We all have our paths in life that we take. Some we choose and some are chosen for us. Some have rocks and sweat and blood while others are paved. Some begin with adventure and others are purely mundane...the everyday. But with Jesus, we all end up in the same place. Without tears and without hurt and engulfed by His love. As I stared out at His creation, I didn’t think of the tiny trail, I just thought of Him.
At the airport a few days later, this beautiful Texan woman that I’d met looked at me and told me she heard that I was a new Christian. “Well…for five years!” I responded. She looked at me. Really looked at me. And said, “It doesn’t matter how you got here honey. He knew what it would take to get you. It just matters that you’re here.” And then we prayed over our airport food before we parted ways.
Another lady I met this week is fighting a hard battle. The battle of love. Knowing God’s love and truly knowing that she deserves that love. Three failed engagements to the same man and she looks at me over her wine and tells me, I know he is a stronghold in my life. And I can’t let him go. He will never love me the way I should be loved, but I know nothing else. And I’m reminded of my “mountain.” I wanted to turn around. Because the view below was still beautiful. But it didn’t compare to the view on top. I’m thankful my God doesn’t let me turn around. Doesn’t let me settle. Doesn’t allow me to return to Egypt. He forces me to sweat and bleed and become exhausted while He is right there beside me so that He can show me the beauty He has planned for me. The beauty I haven’t yet imagined.