When the Journey Gets Weary

I love the outdoors.  I love to hike.  I love a nice leisurely stroll through the woods enjoying nature and the scenic surroundings that typically come with it.  However, there was a hike that had me spent.

While living in Arkansas for just over a year, I had the opportunity to join a group of friends I had met there on a hike into the Ozark Mountains.   Not huge mountains, but it was an all day hike.
We started out fresh early in the morning and began our ascent to the peak where we would be picked up.  I don't recall the number of vertical feet we would be climbing, but I remember at the time that it didn't seem all that bad.

As the hike began, we were all keeping pace well.  The seasoned hikers were keeping a pace they knew would need to be maintained for us to reach the summit before nightfall.  The rest of us... we tried our best.  I remember on many occasions during the hike, several of us would fall behind a bit.
The group would stop and rest while they waited.  Once we reached the group, they would pickup and start hiking again.  This continued for hours, but we pressed on.

There were times I honestly didn't think I was going to finish, but there wasn't another option.  We pressed on and pushed through.   I distinctly remember the last mile of the hike being the most daunting.  It was the last part of the hike, the most rugged, and the steepest.   I literally remember having my hands on the ground as we made the final ascent, but we pressed on.

Reaching the top of the trail opened into a beautiful scenic park that overlooked 3 sides of the mountain.  The journey was over and we could rest.

This is life... There will be times where the journey takes you places you didn't think you could go.
You may start out strong with anticipation and excitement and realize you are in over your head.
You will draw upon the strength that only God can provide.   The "seasoned hikers" knew what needed to happen and kept pressing forward.  They knew we could make it, but they had to push us to get there.  The journey gets weary at times and the side trail down seems like a good option, but it may result in having to turn around and back track or lead you into the jungle of pity and despair.
I have been there, I know.  Keep your eye on the guide, keep moving forward. Sure your pace may slow, your gait may shorten, you may be crawling, but rest will come.

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