Earlier this week, I went to Mount Madonna County Park to hike. I just wanted to get out in nature and start getting me back into shape. The pandemic was really good for couch potatoes and I was probably too much of one. Gyms have been closed and I used to swim everyday there. I switched to walking but time change can make even that difficult to do over winter. But I went out to hike and be out in nature.
It is a beautiful place. I got to Mount Madonna about halfway through the morning. Still early enough so sunlight was dancing through the trees and playing with shadows on my path. The park isn’t huge but there is an abundance of beauty.
The park is free during the pandemic so no one is at the pay station. I found a map at the park information board and drove on through the park to see what was there. Everything is well marked whether on roads or trails. After studying my map, I went to a major trailhead and parked in the lot. Several trails converge here but easily stayed on my path. The trails are usually wide easy to walk on. The one that wasn’t, went uphill for me. It was also where water flows down when it rains. It had rained two days before I went.
I decided to make a big loop of different trails and end up back at my car. Easy to do actually. One trail went steeply uphill. It also provided some outstanding vistas. On that hill, I realized everything else I do doesn’t have any hills or even any stairs in it.
There are no stairs in my apartment and there are no stairs or hills at school either. It would seems my way is pretty smooth. Maybe almost too smooth, too easy. I think some uphills, some struggles, are needed in life. This hill was one I needed. The hill showed me how far out of shape I have slipped. New Years or not, I will continue on my journey to a better me.
I started thinking. Maybe we need some hills and struggles in life to keep us and our faith in shape. Maybe we need them to help us rely on God, to remind us how much we need Him. Every hill we encounter is a challenge. Every hill is a chance for us to rely on our God who has already solved the problem for us long before we asked. And so we struggle. Sometimes faltering, forgetting. Sometimes stepping out in faith but always learning, always leaning.
The goal is to be so close to God, He leads us in everything. The way to get there is by spending time with Him. Spend time in reading the Bible. Spend time in prayer. Spend time in nature. Give yourself to God and let Him direct your paths wherever they lead whether uphill or level. And God will be with you as you go!