It was 1988 and our young family of six went camping in Colorado. We camped in a remote spot below The Crags, named for its jagged rocky formations. It was primitive camping with outhouses and non potable water. But we enjoyed the rustic scenery, complete with babbling mountain stream nearby. Hiking in the mountain meadows was a favorite activity. Less fun was coming back to wet tents, sleeping in the van, or making spaghetti on the camp stove – in the rain.
Still, the next day was nice and we decided to hike up the mountain path to the peak. So with a one year old in the child carrier and six-year-old sometimes running and sometimes pleading to be carried, we plodded upward with the teen and preteen leading the way. It was an easy enough climbing path. But between being worn down by the poor sleep and carrying the children, we found ourselves sitting on a bench along the side of the mountain path.
Surrounded by trees, we had no idea how close we were to the top. We must have been talking about giving up and heading back. Maybe it was just too far for us to reach the peak. That’s when someone coming down the path said, “You can’t give up now. Just a little more up the path is the peak and the view is extraordinary. You can see for miles!” And so we agreed to give it a try to continued upward.
That’s when we learned “a little more” is a relative term. Nonetheless, with the stranger’s encouragement we made it to the top. And true enough, the view was spectacular. We reveled in beauty of God’s creation outstretching miles before us. After a time of soaking in the beauty and committing the time to memory, we made the descent, refreshed and encouraged. Since then we’ve had a number of opportunities to encourage other young and older hikers to not give up; the best is yet to come.
Interesting how courage and encouragement are so closely connected. Your words and actions of encouragement give courage to those around you. Tell them never give up. The best may be yet to come.
So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18