Diane and I were in New Hampshire for almost two weeks and we did a lot of hiking. We did a hike on Mt. Kearsarge which is 2,937 feet. On the one side of the mountain were trails to hike a couple of thousand feet in elevation to the top of Mt. Kearsarge. On the other side was a road. When I say we hiked on the mountain, I mean we drove several miles up the mountain and then hiked a half a mile to the pinnacle once we had already driven to the top of the mountain. On occasion we would see pyramids of rocks. If you’ve been on popular hiking trails, you more than likely have seen them before. I was unaware that they served a purpose. I had always assumed people just piled up rocks. On one hike I saw this laminated paper that told amateur, car driving hikers like myself that real hikers used these stacked rocks, called cairns, for landmarks and guidance. When you take the paved road to the top, you rarely need the cairns.
When we were at the top of this particular mountain, we ran across three young men who had hiked to the top. Everything they had with them they had carried up the mountain in backpacks. They were going to spend the night up there. They were talking about waiting for the sunset. Diane and I walked a half a mile back to the van, got some drinks from the cooler, and drove back down the mountain. I am sure they saw a beautiful sunset. The next morning they would hike back down the mountain. They undoubtedly have stories to tell of their hike up that mountain, their overnight stay, and the hike back down. To be honest, I envied them a little bit.
Thinking about that day, I am reminded of the Christian walk. Eugene Peterson has a book titled A Long Obedience in the Same Direction. In it he writes of the Israelites upon leaving Egypt,
“They worked and played, suffered and sinned in the world like everyone else did, and as Christians still do. But they were now going someplace – they were going to God. The truth of God explained their lives, the grace of God fulfilled their lives, the forgiveness of God renewed their lives, the love of God blessed their lives.”
Whether anyone and everyone believes it or not, everyone is going someplace. Some are on the wrong path, separated from God and are headed for destruction. Yet even for them, there is always a way that leads out of the distress of that direction, and that way begins by turning to God through Jesus. On the other hand, followers of Christ, made right with God through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, are all headed to an eternity with God. Parts of the way we are able to set the cruise control and other parts are tedious and treacherous, and we have to watch our footing. Parts of the way are sunny and other parts dark and dangerous. We look for the cairns along the way to keep us on and at times guide us back to the right path. But one thing is for sure, we are going someplace. And for those with a faith in Christ, it is indeed someplace special. We are going to the God who has already come to us.
“Any hurt is worth it that puts us on the path of peace, setting us free for the pursuit, in Christ, of eternal life.” ~ Eugene Peterson
“Cast all your cares upon him; for he cares for you.”~1 Peter 5:7