My wife and I had a great time this past summer visiting Stone Mountain Park, here in the Atlanta area, with our grandsons. We had the opportunity to spend the day with them seeing the various sights and attractions and just had a wonderful time. One thing that my grandsons had really wanted to do that particular day was climb to the top of the mountain. Stone Mountain isn't a particularly tall mountain and fortunately has walking trails to the top, but for a 5 and 6 year old, along with grandpa and grandma, it is a formidable task.
Even though our grandsons' enthusiasm was much greater than mine and my wife's, we relented and decided to start the slow trek up the mountain. The beginning part of the trail was slow and gradual. It seemed like we were taking forever to climb just a short distance, but I had to remind myself that it took 3 of their strides to equal 1 of ours, so I found myself walking ahead of them, then having to stop and let them catch-up, over and over again.
I was tired and sweaty, just wanting to get to the top of the mountain so I could rest and then start my way back. I learned early on during our hike that this wasn't going to be the case. We had to stop and look at every large rock with someone's name carved in it. We looked at unusual plant formations. We examined large trees that were growing crooked and we explored small rock overhangs that reminded the kids of caves. My grandsons viewed the hike as an exciting adventure. Climbing the mountain was a trial to me and I was simply looking for the hike to be over with quickly before I succumbed to dehydration and heat stroke. My grandsons were not focused at all on the trial of climbing the mountain; they were simply enjoying the journey of the hike.
I know when I face a trial in life, no matter what it is, I tend to dwell on the problem. I want the trial to be over with quickly and let life get back to normal. While I never enjoy being in the midst of a trial, I was reminded by my grandsons that I should always learn to enjoy the journey. What can I learn during the course of the trial? How can I grow? What is God trying to teach me?
At some point, the trial will be over and we'll be joyous for sure. But, the real joy should not be that the trial's over, but in celebrating what I learned during the journey.