After a half mile and a 400-foot elevation increase, I was huffing and puffing. My only relief was knowing that I'd soon be travelling in the opposite direction.
My wife, middle brother, and I were on a four-day trip to the mountains for hiking and relaxation. Our first hike was a four-mile loop — nothing compared to the distances that we once hiked — but we hadn't hiked in around ten years. We began on the Deep Creek Trail and were to end on the Indian Creek Trail, traversing the Loop Trail to complete the loop. Deep Creek Trail was tranquil, but when we turned left on the Loop Trail, we knew that we were headed for different scenery. Immediately, the trail left the serenity of the creek and began an upward climb, an ascent that took us 400 feet to the top of whatever mountain we were on. We were living out delayed gratification. The remainder of our hike was a pleasant downhill, but we couldn't enjoy that until we had endured the pain of the uphill.
The believer's journey is similar.
1 Corinthians 13:12 – Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely. (NLT)
While God classified me a sinner before Christ, after Christ, I am termed a saint, a friend, and a child of God. Since I still do battle with my fleshly nature, I don't always act like any of these classifications, but how I sporadically act or briefly feel has no bearing on my actual position in Christ. One day, however, my position, feelings, and actions will coincide.
My journey toward full gratification is dotted with ups and downs. Some of the valleys are deep, but I reach the next mountain peak by focusing forward, keeping my eyes on the author and finisher of my faith. Christ's resurrection power indwells me, and with His strength, I can finish the race of faith successfully. You can, too.
Prayer: Merciful God, though our ultimate destiny is delayed and sometimes difficult, give us strength to keep the faith until the finish line is crossed. Amen.
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Listen while you read: "Breathe On Me Breath Of God" (Lyrics)