Several years ago, my best friend and I decided to drive, one Saturday, to the North Georgia Mountains to hike. We were still young and single and had nothing really better to do on a hot Saturday afternoon, so this would be something different and exciting for us to do. Neither of us were avid hikers or really knew what we were doing, but it sounded like something to kill some time, if nothing else.
Off we drove for about 2 hours from Atlanta to North Georgia where we arrived at one of the State Parks. It was gorgeous. Campgrounds; picnic tables; playgrounds; and, of course, all set in the beautiful mountains. I can still feel the crispness of the mountain air and how refreshing it all felt after the long drive.
The Park had several hiking trails, but we decided on hiking the trail that was marked as the most extreme. Afterall, we were young, macho guys. We didn’t want some wimpy walking trail. We wanted to go for the most gusto—and we did.
The first part of the trail involved walking down what seemed like a thousand steps deep into a canyon. From there, the trail began up and around various hilltops all amazingly marked with signs of various landmarks and types of wildlife. It was as beautiful as we had hoped, but tiring. It seemed like we must have walked 5 miles, but the hiking trail was only marked as a couple of miles. The fact that we not walking on a level playing field obviously made it seem longer than it did. We were both beginning to get very tired. Being the experienced hikers that we were, we didn’t take any water with us so our mouths and throats were as dry as a desert. We were suddenly discovering that we weren’t as macho as we thought we were and, to make matters worse, we had to hike back.
We had been hiking alongside a medium-sized river and seeing all that water just made us thirstier. Just when we thought we couldn’t make it much further, we saw a small waterfall up ahead where the river we were following dropped off to a lower terrain. What really caught our eyes was that there was a ledge behind the waterfall where we could climb and actually sit and rest behind the waterfall. We debated whether to continue hiking, or try to climb behind the waterfall and rest. That was something I had seen in movies where people hiked behind the waterfall into some mystery cave or hideout, but I had never personally seen this before. So, off we went. Climbing down the ledge ever so carefully until we were actually behind the waterfall. What an awesome sight! We literally sat there quietly watching the cool water from the river above us dropping right in front of and continuing downstream below us.
It was so refreshing. Watching the awesome power of the water while, at the same time, enjoying the cool mist blowing off the waterfall sprinkling us with much needed water. Not enough to soak us too much, but just enough to revitalize us for the journey back. We probably sat there for 30 minutes just soaking up the beauty and the cooling mist. What a blessing this was on that hot day, especially to think we almost talked ourselves into continuing our hike and we would have missed this opportunity at the waterfall.
I often think of my Christian Walk and how sometimes life just seems overwhelming. It reminds me so much of that day, many years ago, hiking in the mountains. On that day, we walked and walked; uphill and downhill looking for the end of the trail and yearning for refreshment at the same time. Finally, we found the mist of the waterfall and we forgot about our feelings and the long journey still ahead of us. The comfort of the mist was worth the agony of the journey. Whenever I have those overwhelming “life moments,” it helps me to just stop and have some quiet time with the Lord and simply wonder in His mighty grace and strength. I couldn’t tell you how many times I missed fellowship with the Lord simply because I was too busy to slow down. Just like that day on the trail, we would have missed the refreshing mist of the waterfall had we not stopped. The “mist” of the Lord’s love and greatness is more than I need for any situation on any day and all that I need for the long journey ahead.