Yesterday I had a hot, sweaty lesson in faith. During my time at Village Creek this week, I have decided to do some hiking at the area state parks or state forests.
Day One – Tuesday: Yellow River State Forest.
After spending about 25-30 extra miles of circling around in search of the area headquarters, I found it and found a nice attendant who listened to my hopes for the time in the forest (not too hard of hike but with plenty of scenery). He guided me to what he thought were the perfect trails for my intentions, suggested where I should park, and even pointed out the bathroom locations. Yellow River has over 25 miles of hiking trails as well as many miles of horse/bike trails; however, he assured me that, if I kept a close watch on the trail markers and oriented myself using the trail map, I should not get lost.
My main hope was to see beautiful scenery. Unfortunately for this out-of-shape enthusiast, all of the trails start in the valley, and the beauty is best seen from the top of a mountain (a bluff really, but let’s be honest – to me that is a mountain!). After about 1/4 of flat terrain, I turned up the steep incline.
The attendant had told me, “Oh, to be sure, the incline is pretty steep. But the sign says it should take you about 20 minutes to get to the top.” That is exactly what the sign said. Spoiler alert: it took me 40 minutes to get to the top.
As I made my way up the incline, gasping for breath and wondering why I had decided that I needed to hike to see beautiful scenery at the top of the bluff rather than to drive there, Hebrews 11:1 kept going through my mind.
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
I had no evidence that I would find beautiful scenery once I reached the top of my climb. I had never met the attendant prior to walking in the doors of his office; for all I knew, he could have sent me up that incline for some sick and twisted joy that he could get knowing that my out of shape self would suffer the entire way to the top. Fortunately, though, that was not the case, and I was not disappointed.
Thanks to my trusty trail map, I knew that more than one outlook existed atop this mountain. I hiked though all of them, finding even more breath-taking views as I went from one to another. Eagles (or some kind of big bird) soared above me. At one point, three of them artistically rose and fell through the valley created by the Paint Creek below me between the bluff where I stood and the one across the valley.
Faith is taking the first step, the next step, and all of the steps afterward. Faith is hoping for what I seek to be where I expect it to be. The area headquarters’ attendant promised me that I would find beauty atop the bluff. I believed him even though, with every aching step up that trail, I wanted to turn back and to believe that he lied to me.
How much more should I have faith in the promises of my God and my Savior?