Don’t you know that in a stadium the runners all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win!~1 Corinthians 9:24 TLV
Many years ago, I traveled Alaska with a group of friends.
It was a cloudless, seventy-degree day when we visited Denali National Park, the location of Mt. Healy. When we met a group of people who finished the climb and raved about its beauty, we were determined to take the five-mile hike up the mountain—a breeze for young, physically fit adults.
Initially, we found the path effortless. But the longer we trekked, the more difficult it became. The steep terrain and high altitude slowed our pace considerably. During a rest break we contemplated turning around, when a pair of elderly gentlemen descended the path. One shared he recently recovered from a stroke and the other said not to give up and stay the course, what waited at the mountaintop was worth the climb. Their encouragement and inspiring story providing the needed motivation to continue forward.
The panoramic view on the summit took our breath away. To our amazement, the highest mountain peak in North America stood before us in all its grandeur. It’s a rare site for adventurers to see the top of Mt. McKinley—but not on this day. It wasn’t a coincidence we crossed paths with those men.
He gives strength to the weak. And He gives power to him who has little strength.~Isaiah 40:29 NLV
The Bible is filled with people who endured strenuous journeys. And when faced with weariness, encouragement came, propelling them forward. In 1 Kings, Elijah is a perfect example of life’s spiritual peaks and valleys. Throughout his travels, he grew confident in his faith and ability to perform miracles with God at his side. Elijah commanded the rain to stop for three years, caused a bin of flour and a jar of oil to never run dry, brought a child back to life, and called fire down from heaven.
Despite his many miraculous acts, witnessing first-hand the impossible feats of God, the prophet still felt isolated and experienced fear. But God didn’t give up on his faithful servant. On two separate occasions He sent an angel to provide water and bake bread for the prophet while he slept under a tree.
After forty days and nights, still tormented by emotion, Elijah took refuge in a cave. But when God beckoned Elijah to join Him in the midst of powerful winds, an earthquake, and a fire, the prophet may have gained a different perspective of his situation, reminded he served the Creator of the universe.
Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for Me?~Jeremiah 32:27 NKJV
After Elijah completed his assignment and trained his replacement, he received the ultimate prize, a first-class ticket to Heaven, escaping physical death. Each step we experience in life’s journey, good or bad, is a mile-marker closer to the finish line.
When we run the race, trip over obstacles, or sometimes fall, God’s support and encouragement can come from a tug on the heart, a scripture, or a person He puts in our path. Or it may be a still small voice that revives us for the homestretch.
Are you a mountain climber or a cave dweller?
My Father in Heaven, Fill me with your heavenly nourishment, so like Elijah, I too can continue on despite the circumstances. You alone are God, the maker of Heaven and Earth, the Potter who formed this lifeless clay into being. There is nothing too great for your mighty hands. What door you open, no one can close. What path you pave, no one can destroy. Let your glory shine, Father, so I can defeat the enemy, finish the race, and win the prize you have destined for me.
In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Copyright 2021: Tough Terrain: Irene Wintermyer: All Rights Reserved