This past Saturday I decided to take a hike. (People have been telling me to do this for years!!)
The 11,916 foot peak of Mt. Charleston looms large, looking over Las Vegas, Nevada.
Within a spectacular forty-five minute drive I was at the Mary Jane Falls Trailhead – Elevation 7,800 feet.
I wasn’t properly dressed. With blue jeans, hiking boots and a long sleeve shirt I had underestimated how warm it would be on the trail as I began the one and a half mile hike that would ascend another 1,500 feet.
The trail is well marked, well maintained and well worn.
I marveled at the fact that hundreds of thousands of hikers had helped pave the path before me.
The trail was full of hikers ascending and descending.
The warm “humid-free” air was breathtaking.
The view of the tall evergreen pines lining the trail was an eye-full.
The climb literally took my breath away.
An interesting phenomena started happening about half-way up the trail.
As I was ascending, there were those on the trail descending.
With each passing hiker and with a friendly nod of the head and a brief, “Hey!”, every hiker said exactly the same thing…
“You’re almost there!”
Sure enough, this mantra of “You’re almost there!” encouraged me and motivated me to keep going.
The fascinating thing about this particular hike is that I was never able to see Mary Jane Falls until I actually arrived.
I just had to trust the trail and adhere to the advice of my fellow hikers that I was almost there.
The moment finally arrived where I arrived at the summit of Mary Jane Falls.
The trail opened up and there were a number of fellow travelers taking in the view. As I came over the horizon, the mantra of “You’re almost there!” became “YOU MADE IT!”
I raised my bottle of water in the air to cheer the accomplishment as I breathlessly uttered, “Woohoo!”
This got me thinking…(Stick with me here… My imagination might get a little far fetched…)
My hike was very analogous to the Christian journey…
I am hiking through life and as I ascend the Mountain of God I run across all sorts of hikers ascending and descending.
Those ascending are fellow hikers trying to make their way up the arduous trail.(The living…)
Those descending are fellow hikers who have already made it to the top. (Those saints who have passed on)
A thought that popped into my head on the way up the mountain was, “How high is the mountain that each of us gets to climb?”
How much further would I be able to travel up “my” mountain before I would hit the summit thus ending my hike?
I had just taken a few steps onto the trail when I ran across my friend Hannah Noel. Her mountaintop was only nine weeks high.
About ten more minutes along the way Jacob was running down the mountain with the biggest smile on his face, his peak only being seventeen years high.
And so this is how it went for a full hour.
My cousin Gary…
My youth pastor Gary Lenhart…
My F-15 fighter pilot friend Skip “Hoss” Robertson… (We laughed together as I said, “Fly Skip Fly!”)
My tennis partner Howard…
Members of Reid Memorial Presbyterian Church…
Members of First Presbyterian Church in Klamath Falls…
My grandparents…Nana and Dendy, Momma Jerry and Paw Paw..
My dad…He was still smoking his pipe!
And the list went on and on…
Each of them encouraged me, “You’re almost there! I have hiked the path you are on. Keep going! They are waiting for you at the summit!”
How high is the mountain that you are ascending?
I have no idea and neither do you…
For some of us the peak will be ninety years high.
For others, not so much.
Whatever the elevation our peaks might be…we just keep hiking!
And then the moment arrived…
I arrived at Mary Jane Falls…
I never saw it coming…
I knew I was close but I couldn’t see it until I came around a bend in the trail!
The chorus echoed in my heart and soul…
“YOU MADE IT!”
Hear the good news!
We will hear that victory chant as we walk or run or crawl on to the Summit of God’s heavenly kingdom, exhausted and exhilarated and literally out of breath!
As I sat there for about thirty minutes I had the complete joy of joining in the chorus of “You made it!” to my fellow hikers, many of whom I had passed along the trail.
Then the time came for me to start my descent.
Guess what I had the privilege of saying to each hiker I passed as they were ascending the trail?
“You’re almost there!”
Laugh often and Fear not!