The Hiker’s Dilemma
“Climb mountains not so the world can see you but so you can see the world.”
One of my favorite places to be when the weather is nice is outdoors. In addition to simply walking outside, I have also grown very fond of hiking. There is something incredible about being elevated high above the trees and valleys beneath. I love a good hike and the success of reaching the top, but there are more things I have taken away from my trips than just dirt on my shoes.
If you have ever climbed a mountain or ventured on a strenuous hike, you know what I mean when I say the view is worth every step, and every sight seems to be different from the last peak you conquered. On these mountaintops you will find variations of waterfalls, rivers, snow-capped rises, and all sorts of breathtakingly beautiful scenes. It is so rewarding knowing you have made the trek up the rocks and pathways, but like they say, “what goes up must come down.”
Even though the tops of these places are stunning, one dilemma every hiker faces is that they cannot simply jump from one mountaintop to another. There has to be a descent on the journey. In order for you to get to the next high point, you are going to have to walk back to the mountain until the time comes for you to be elevated again. This is not saying you will not continue to rise higher; this is not taking one step forward and two steps back scenario; this is simply growing in grace and realizing how to get to the next level.
Here’s the beautiful truth you can rest in when facing your next mountain: the more you climb, train and conquer, the bigger the mountains you will be able to climb. I am reminded of an interview by one of the world’s greatest climbers and one of the first men to climb the summit of Mt. Everest, Sir Edmund Hillary.
“It was a growing process and a learning process. Never, in my early days, did I ever think of attempting to reach the summit of Mt. Everest.
He even shook his fist at the mountain after not being able to reach its heights the first time and said:
”You won, this time. But you are as big as you are ever going to get. And I’m still growing.”
Any mountain you wish to climb is as big as it will ever be. You, however, can train and grow stronger in order to scale it. In addition to vigorous training, time, and effort that go into mountain climbing, there is also something you must remember when it comes to hiking—you must pack lightly. You also cannot have the company of people who aren’t equally trained. This being the case, there are some things and some people you may have to leave behind on your expeditions.
This past year, I heard a message that impacted my life. Rev. Doug Klinedinst preached on The Privilege and Peril of High Places. He emphasized that mountaintops provide extreme opportunities to see things without distractions. However, there are dangers associated with high places. The conditions are difficult, and there is a smaller margin for mistakes. In addition, we cannot let ourselves become overly proud when we reach new heights. King David’s problem came when he spent too much time elevated on a rooftop.
Just this past summer, I had the opportunity to travel to the Yosemite National Park in the great State of California. We camped out and went on a couple of hiking trails. One of the most incredible things I have ever seen was the view of the stars from the top. I was mesmerized and did not want to move, but I had to. As beautiful as it was, and as much as I enjoyed my time up there, it was not my home.
Imagine if I would have simply chosen to stay up there? I would never have survived. Winter would soon set in, and the snow would have driven me away. There are seasons in which staying on the mountaintop is acceptable, but seasons change and often brings a change in us. We must remember to stay faithful in whatever season we are, wherever we are placed.
We can minister to others when we are off the mountaintop. Moses received the many words from the Lord on the mountaintop, but it would have done the people no good if he would have never come down and shared it. As we descend from High Point to High Point, we may find ourselves wandering in the midst of darkness, but even in the lowest points, we are never walking alone. Allow me to remind you of Psalm 23:4. “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.”
He is with you wherever you go, not only when things are good but also when you find yourself at your lowest point. Being on a mountaintop is gratifying and allows you to learn and see things you could not normally see. Yet, it is temporary. We are changed from one glory to another.
In order for us to get to the next level God has for us, we must experience times of brokenness and valleys. These are also positions in which we can learn. We are forced into recovery and reminded from whom our strength comes. We must learn to flourish and grow even in the valley and bloom where we are planted. Use these times to draw closer to Him and to prepare for the next step in your life.
In this journey we call life, you will continuously face highs and lows, but when you experience the “Hiker’s Dilemma,” just trust in knowing you are not on this voyage alone.
Rachel Thorne was born in Florida and has lived in many places throughout the United States. She is a graduate of Urshan College, formerly known as Gateway College of Evangelism. She wants to make a difference and change her world. Rachel is actively seeking the will of God for her life and is willing to do whatever He has for her.