I have to admit that I'm not much of an adventurer or outdoorsman ,although I do like to enjoy outdoor activities. I like to camp and fish occasionally, especially when I was younger. Now, it seems that I just don't have the time or make the time to relax as much as I should. I suppose we're all caught up in our daily lives and the ongoing hustle and bustle. It's no wonder that most of us are too stressed out for our own good.
I remember many, many years ago I had the opportunity as a teenager to go with some friends of mine on a mountain climbing adventure. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not talking Mt. Everest here. Just some small, North Georgia Mountains that would be plenty challenging enough for me and my friends. We were excited because it wasn't something we normally did a lot of—mountain climbing that is. But, we were also nervous because we didn't know anything about it. My imagination went wild. What if our ropes broke? What if we fell off the edge of the mountain? What if we ran into bears? What if we got snake-bit? What if there was an avalanche of rocks that hurt us? What if we got separated and some of us got lost in the wilderness? On and on and on, my thoughts ran wild to the point that I was ready to go home before we started.
Despite all the anxiety, we arrived at our location to begin our great excursion. The good news was that we were going to have a local climber go with us; someone who knew the terrain and knew where to go and what to look out for. Before we started the hike and climb, our guide explained how he grew up in the area and hiked the trails and mountains as a child. He comforted us by explaining how he knew every inch of the terrain and even knew when there were changes to the landscape such as a new fallen tree, or a dammed-up stream. By the time he was through talking, I was feeling much better. I knew that I had nothing to fear. There was no where we would go; no mountain that we were going to climb; and no path we were going to take in which our guide was not intimately familiar. Even though we didn't even know what County we were in, he knew every new path that was created.
Sure enough, we encountered a situation in which our guides expertise was a life-saving experience. As we began climbing one small mountain after another, we encountered one mountain with a small trail that circled around the hill and slowly snaked it's way to the top of the mountain. What we didn't know at the time was that at one point on the mountain, there was a 20 foot stretch of the trail in which the trail narrowed to about one foot in width. You fall off the trail and you tumble down the mountain. Our guide was ahead of us and already had navigated this treacherous stretch. He knew it was coming and had crossed the path many times before. He knew what to expect . He crossed the narrow path with ease and waited for us on the other side, ready to coach us and lead us across danger to safety. Basically, we had to turn our backs to the mountain side and look forward, out over the long fall below, and slowly slide our way around the mountain until the path widened. Our guide would tell us where to place our feet and how not to look down, leading us every step of the way until we were all safe. Needless to say, our guide was our best friend at that moment.
We often go through life looking at the mountains and the dangers and worrying too much about what may happen while, all the time, forgetting that our guide–Jesus–has been there before. HE created the mountains. Nothing catches our Lord by surprise. HE is there to guide you and direct you every step of the way, if only you'll focus on HIM and not the fall below.
Are you facing a huge trial or decision in your life right now? Are you seeing only the mountains? If so, take your focus off the mountain and place your focus in your guide. It's amazing how much more beautiful the scenery is when you do that.