A promising day of blue skies held a hint of rain. Some friends accompanied us to Snowbowl. We began a long trek up Mt. Humphrey’s. Our goal was to reach the summit, or at least the saddle. We had a time limit which pushed us faster than normal up this steep incline. On the way, we met someone who inspired us even as the strength in our legs nearly gave out.
This woman had lost her companions. They were jogging up the mountain ahead of us. It was too fast for the woman to follow. We discovered that she had asthma. The woman came up from Phoenix and she was not used to hiking at this elevation. She held two ski poles to assist her on the terrain. The woman was in good physical shape and stopped a lot on the trail. I usually like to call these stops, “admiring the view,” rather than admit that my chest is heaving and my legs hurt.
Mt. Humphrey’s is about 12,300 or so feet and the highest point in Arizona. We had ten minutes left and we were more than halfway up. We pushed our legs until we crested the saddle. We didn’t have time for the extra hour to the summit, but the saddle gave us an awe-inspiring view. It even began to sleet as we stood on the saddle far above the earth. On the way down, we came across that woman still working her way to the summit. I don’t know if she ever got the top, but I continue to remember her now weeks later. Her perseverance was amazing!
Perseverance is necessary for any Christian. If we continue to say we can’t do something, we never will try. Failure is not the road block, but fear; it keeps us from living. We question why American missionaries go across the sea to countries hostile to our beliefs, even as those hostile countries are putting to death other believers, and yet their perseverance and strong faith lead them to better things in their lives. Often, I have heard people say that God gives us what we need, because we don’t know what we want. No one growing up says, they want to go to the Middle East and get beheaded by an extreme Muslim. We don’t want to lose our home due to foreclosure or want to move to another town for a new job, but God knows better what we desire and He asks us to persevere in the faith and trust Him. That woman wanted to prove something. She never allowed her asthma to make her a victim. That woman continued to climb even as the air became thin.
I want that perseverance. I want the faith of a missionary facing formidable odds. I want to live following Christ’s plan because oddly enough I am happier when I am following Him, even when circumstances are miserable. It’s these treks up difficult terrain in thin air that drive my determination to do things I would have never thought possible. However, to get to this point, I lost weight, worked on gaining muscle and endurance; in the same way, for faith to remain strong it depends solely on what we feed our soul. Do we read our Bibles? Or do those Bibles collect dust on our bookshelves? Are they opened only on Sunday? Do we pick and choose what we want to believe of the Bible?