Do you hike? I like to say I hike.
Well, I hiked in High School. It suddenly occurs to me that a past-time I enjoyed a decade ago no longer counts as a current hobby.
I did go on a 5 mile hike last summer – for the first time in a long time – with 3 teenage girls. We were on a camping trip and one of the girls REALLY wanted to go on a hike in the rainforest. So, we headed off in search of a good trail.
There are 2 types of people on hikes:
1. The kind that likes hiking.
2. The kind that pretended they liked hiking before you started hiking.
So, as we are going along, it became increasingly clear which team each girl was on. We were split in half. The 2 that loved the smell and the hard work and the beauty. And the 2 that hated the bugs, the sweat, and the whole walking part.
One girl ended this experience with saying, “I really like nature! From inside my car.”
Sometimes, I think that is how we approach following Jesus. “I really like Jesus, while I’m warm and cozy and safe.”
I’ve been thinking lately about a verse I have known most of my life:
But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. (Matthew 7:14, NIV)
When I was a kid, I pictured myself on the narrow road. But, in my head, I just got plopped on the road, like when you die in Mario Kart and the cloud dude comes and flies you back to the right place. The narrow road meant obeying your parents and going to church. I didn’t give much thought to leaving the path – it was just where I was.
Of course as life went on, I understood that there has to be a gate moment.
You don’t just end up in the middle of the woods on a hike. But, there are many gate moments in our journey to find Hope and Peace and Redemption. How we live out the gate moments determines which trail we end up on. Sometimes, we get seriously lost.
Life changes and new trails pop up and we have to decide which way to take, which gate to enter, over and over again.
Sometimes, life is a bit like a hike you can’t avoid. And, whether you like it or not, you have to keep walking and keep choosing your next trail. We get a bit hopeless when we feel like we will never reach the destination or when the weather changes or when the bugs won’t let up.
But, whether we like the journey or realize we are stuck on it – the only choices we have are to keep walking or sit down on the ground in the middle of the rainforest and wait . . . for nothing.
A hike is always better when you know your destination is something beautiful, like a spectacular view or a hidden waterfall.
When this scripture I’ve been thinking about says that the road leads to life, I always thought it meant heaven. And, I think it does. Eternity with God is worth whatever hardship we endure. But, following Jesus is about bringing Heaven to Earth, now. Allowing the true and real Life that comes from surrendering our lives to a Good God to be active NOW.
A hike is about the hiking. The destination gives us hope, but we hike for the journey. We hike for the fresh air and the conversations and the small victories.
Life is about living. Only a few find it. Only a few really experience Life the way it was created to be experienced.
I want to be one of the few.