There is a hill down the street from where I live that challenges me. The challenge is not so much walking the hill, but trying to figure out how it’s only half a mile down, but it’s at least two miles back up!
Sure, it doesn’t look all that daunting when you first turn onto the hill, there’s barely an incline.
And, once you get past the first curve, it sort of drops off a little, but it doesn’t seem steep or difficult.
And, granted, unless you’ve driven it, or walked it, you don’t know what’s around that curve; it could be something to worry about, but it isn’t.
It’s just a long sloped road with a few more curves. It’s really a pretty walk.
Until you get to the bottom and turn around. Boom! You gotta walk back up! So, you take a deep breath, and start walking, one foot in front of the other. It’s not too difficult at first.
But those curves… were there two, three, or four big turns?
You keep walking, climbing, putting one foot in front of the other…
Until finally! Victory! You’re back at the top!
A lot of life is like walking this hill. It’s easy to go downhill and it doesn’t take too long. It’s not quite so easy coming back up, and it seems to take a long time to get to the top… if ever.
Some of you have experienced the sudden shock of walking along and then finding yourself at the foot of a hill. A tragedy happens and you wonder how on earth you will survive. Every step becomes an uphill climb. Every breath hurts. Every muscle aches. But before you know it, simply by putting one foot in front of the other, you find that you’re surviving. Can it be you are getting close to flat ground again?
“I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along.” – Psalm 40:1-2
For some the hill is a diagnosis that you never anticipated. Suddenly all of life is an uphill battle. Radiation. Chemo. Surgery. Reconstruction. You wonder if you’ll ever get off the hill. You fear each curve because you dread what is beyond it.
“Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine. When you go through deep waters I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. — Israel 43:1-3 NLT
For some, life has been uphill for so long you’ve forgotten what it is like to walk on flat ground, let alone move swiftly downhill. You’ve lived with chronic pain and the diagnosis assures you that the rest of your life will be all uphill.
“I look up to the mountains – does my help come from there? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth! He will not let you stumble; the one who watches over you will not slumber. The Lord himself watches over you! The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade. The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go both now and forever. – Psalm 121:1-3, 5, 8 NLT
And for some, the walk downhill was a conscious one. You made a turn. You veered off the path you knew you should have stayed on, but the hill looked intriguing. And it was easy… at first.
Perhaps you stopped talking to your spouse about important things. Or you stopped going to church. Or you started flirting with someone off limits. Or you started compromising your budget.
Now you find yourself staring at a hill that needs to be climbed; and it’s the only way back to solid ground. It’s going to take work, lots of hard work. There’s only one way to climb the hills of life – by putting one foot in front of the other on the path that God would have you walk.
“Show me the right path, O Lord; point out the road for me to follow. Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in you.” – Psalm 25:4-5 NLT
You are not alone as you walk, God is with you.
“So take a new grip with tired hands and strengthen your weak knees. Mark out a straight path for your feet so that those who are weak and lame will not fall but become strong.” – Hebrews 12:12-13
As you climb the hill, will you trust that God knows what is around each curve? He knows how steep the hill is. He knows what you can handle. He will bring you victoriously to the top.