Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Take the Next Step

“Why am I doing this?” I asked myself.

I was wet. I was cold. And there were nine miles to go.

The weather forecast rain the rest of the day with no let-up.

As Bob and I put on our hiking boots and clothes that morning, complaining or quitting wasn’t part of our vocabulary.

Three months ago, we decided to hike the 9-½ miles down and then up the Grand Canyon. We booked the flight to Arizona and began training (consisting of 5-mile walks to my favorite coffee shop). I also began watching others hike the Canyon on YouTube. In every video, the sun was shining and the views were captivating.

I didn’t figure on rain in the Arizona desert. And I certainly didn’t figure that I’d have to straddle the path that had become a small stream. Green mule droppings and mud, mixed with orange runoff from the rocks created a wet mess.

I thought I was well prepared — good boots, poles, rain poncho, and warm clothing. The bright yellow poncho kept water off my head to my upper legs for a few hours. Slowly the elements won out and every piece of clothing I was wearing was soaked, except for my feet. Finally, the waterproof boots were no match for the foot of water I had to walk through. Now I was completely drenched.

The scenery was majestic on the trek down, but I missed most of it with eyes glued on my next step. At one point I slipped, falling on my hands and knees landing in the disgusting mud mess. I was grateful I didn’t break anything. If I had, there was no phone service for several miles.

As I plugged along one step at a time I kept telling myself that I was going to make it no matter what. I was going to keep taking the next step. Then the next step and then the next step.

Finally, we reached Phantom Ranch at the bottom of the canyon. There I enjoyed a steak meal swapping soggy stories with the 40 or so other hikers that also braved the elements.

After the meal, I slept in the dorm in the only clothes I had — wet ones. The next morning, we rose before sunrise with headlamps lighting the way. I was grateful the rain had stopped during the night. It ended up being a sunny day.

A friend on Facebook asked me what I learned through this experience. What came to mind was my philosophy about the Christian life. You just keep taking the next step.

If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. (Galatians 5:25 ESV)

Sometimes times are good and sometimes they aren’t. But quitting by not following God has never been an option for me.

To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.  (1 Peter 2:21 NIV)

At times our lives can get really difficult through trials and losses. We’d rather stop and give up. But let me encourage you to hang on and keep walking one step at a time.

And one day we just might wake up to a sunny day.

Copyright © 2019 Dee Lundgren, used with permission.

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