James 1:12 – Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.
A couple of years ago I went on a five-five day hiking trip in Algonquin Park, Ontario, Canada. There were about ten of us and we had only ourselves, our gear, and our own personal determination. Most people in the group had never been on such a trip before, and eight hours of hiking with backpacks is very strenuous work. At the start, we were hiking together but did not make full use of that fact. Many of us relied on our own determination during the hard parts of the hike. This became especially hard near the end of the day when we knew we had almost reached our goal, but were physically exhausted. This was when we had to rely on the encouragement of others to keep on going, even though it would have been much easier to sit down, set up camp and call it a day. We needed support from each other to finish our journey. Once we reached our campsite, we could truly appreciate the beauty of our surroundings and enjoy the sense of accomplishment from hiking so far. The rewards made it well worth the effort of the journey.
Our journey through life is much like this. Many people try to go through life by themselves. They try relying on their own self-determination and strength. This may work at first but sometimes things get really tough. In order to keep going, reliance on God and on our fellow Christians becomes very important. The encouragement we give and receive helps us all one day get to the finish. That's why the Church is such an important gift from God to us.
Prayer: Dear Lord, sometimes life gets difficult but we need to realize we are not alone. There are people around us who can offer us the help we need to get through the difficult situations in life. Please give us the strength to continue. Please help us look for and accept the help that is offered to us. We also pray that if we see someone who is in need, that we will be given the wisdom to be able to help them, so that we can all finish the journey of life together. Amen.