Life is like a hike. You are born and you start off down the beaten path that many others have already taken. There are signs leading you here or there…elementary school, college, traveling, jobs…You follow the tree markers for the path you want. But then sometimes you find a less worn trail, and you think to yourself “that looks so lovely and undiscovered” and you decide to take the worn trail or the less taken deer path. You stay for a while on the trail, but then suddenly decide to dash up the hill; conquer the unknown. Be different. Not conform to the pattern the world sets.
Your friends and family look at you and say “be careful! There are cliffs you could fall off and slippery slopes you might slide down.” But that is life. As you dart up that hill you lose breath. You grab the next tree, hoping it holds you. You settle your footing and wonder if you should continue. But it’s worth it. What you see ahead is the top of a hill and you long to know what is on the other side. And you will succeed.
You might meet a fellow adventurer along the way. Someone else who has chosen the steep hill. You encourage each other and remind each other that you can do this. You know you are not alone in this. There are others who have seen the beauty of a different way and have chosen a way the world does not know. You will climb some rocks and as you reach the top realize you must climb down: for that was not where life was leading and it will not take you to the top of the mountain. So you turn around and climb down, seeing some of the same sights, but in a new light. As you slide down the slope and grab tree roots for footing, you say “Oh, Jesus, please don’t let me die. Help me down.” And that’s just how life happens sometimes. But He is always faithful, and you always make it down those rocks and slippery slopes you adventured up. Sure, the others might be ahead of you, but you’ll catch up. The challenge was worth it.
As you reach the beaten path, you rest a while and stay with your friends. But as you journey with them the undiscovered calls again. You choose which mountain to conquer and then you run. You are wild and free. You have chosen to be radical and to live fiercely. To move mountains and pray hard. That path the rest of the world takes is too easy for you. There are incredible starry nights and there are forest fires, but the life you have chosen is most rewarding. You finally reach the top of that mountain only to find it is not a mountain, but a foothill. Yes, the view is incredible and might stop and rest for a while, but then you continue as you see the summit in the distance and long to see the view from above.
Life takes us to funny places, especially when we choose the unbeaten path. It’s harder, but oh so rewarding. The glory of God is around us in it. And when we reach the summit, He calls us up further; home, to spend forever enveloped in His glory.