As you can see, this is one rocky road! What, you thought I was talking about the ice cream? I wish! I love Rocky Road ice cream. But hiking this rocky road is better for my health than ice cream–unless, of course, I break an ankle or leg on the trail.
As a hiker, I love a straight trail with perfect temperature, no rocks, no climbs, good shade from the sun. No rain, snow, sleet…you know, stuff like that. Missouri, where I lived for many decades, has the KATY Trail, which was a railroad line turned into a long hiking/biking trail, no motor vehicles allowed. It stretches across the state from Clinton in the west to St. Charles in the east, and it makes for some beautiful and easy hiking. There are lodges dotted along the trail where hikers and bikers can stay for the night and get a good breakfast in the morning. There is plenty of shade and very little elevation change because it was a railroad track before it was a trail. I love that trail. Of course, I’ve never hiked it in bad weather.
The thing is, I could get spoiled hiking the KATY Trail every day, and my muscles would get soft. When a trail is all easy hiking, one can get lulled into a false sense of ease. It’s easy to forget that not all good trails are so simple. Not all the beautiful scenery can be reached by an gentle trail. In fact, if the trail doesn’t have some challenges, where is the accomplishment? Where is the muscle workout? The emotional testing? The high one gets from conquering a difficult trail?
Like anyone, I love an easy trail, but I need something to conquer. Take life, for instance. Sure, God could let us coast along with ease and contentment, giving our spiritual muscles a break from the challenges, but in my experience, that doesn’t last long. Sometimes we think the challenges we face are simply too much for us. Maybe they are.
There is no way I could tackle the challenges I’ve faced without knowing God sees all and is there for me no matter what–that He is ultimately the One in control, who allows the challenges. I don’t know how anyone can live through the hardships of this life with all the burden of a good outcome on their own shoulders.
I’ve found that the worst hardships in my life, like the most difficult trails, have driven me closer to Him than any easy jaunt. I believe that’s why we are told in the Bible to count it all joy when we suffer for Him. Because it’s the hardships in life, the rocky roads, that develop us into what God wants us to be.
May you find the strength to face your challenges with some joy, knowing that He is molding within you the beautiful person He wants you to become.