The Journey

Traveling the last past couple of months have been truly amazing. Being 19 and seeing the whole state of California and all it’s different landscapes has been the most amazing experience. Going through the deserts, the cities, the beaches, and the mountains has left me in awe. Feeling like a tiny ant next to the mountains of Yosemite and the powerful Vernal Falls to feeling like you’re on top of the world climbing massive rocks in Joshua tree. Never looking down while driving because you never know what you could miss—theres beauty all around you. Small mountains, massive mountains, baby waterfalls, or the largest waterfall in the world, you could never pass up looking at any of it. One moment throughout the whole

trip has really stuck with me. While a last-minute decision to go to Sequoia National Park and Kings Canyon due to a flood evacuation in Yosemite, it was an exciting unplanned adventure. Walking through the forest there are redwoods everywhere you look. Trees bigger than, well, basically any tree you see on a daily basis. It’s the location of the largest tree in the world and let me tell you, it’s bigger than you could ever imagine. There are skinny trees, tall trees, short trees, green trees, red trees, and trees that have fallen over onto roads, cut out and made into a tunnel for the cars. While passing all this on our hike to Kings Canyon, we finally made it to the place where we are greeted by 400 steps up to the top of a mountain. 

The steps have been carved out of the mountain and your only railing are rocks about 3 feet tall and probably shouldn’t be considered a railing at all. The beginning, like any other, your energy is high and you just can’t wait to get to the top and overlook the view that everyone has talked about. You tell yourself “I can do this, this seems pretty easy, I’m doing well, and I haven’t fallen yet.” You keep telling yourself “you’re almost there” even if you’re hundreds of steps from the top. About halfway through I started to get pretty tired. Taking breaks, breathing heavily, my legs pretty tired, and in that moment I regretted the sugar cookies I ate for breakfast indeed.

Despite it all, I kept telling myself “just keep going!” In my mind there’s no such thing as going back, I’ve come so far, so I have to reach the top. By now I’m almost to the top and it’s getting really hard. I’ve slowed down and I’m breathing like a dying hippo. It’s by no means easy but I can’t wait to see the beauty that awaits me. I know it’s not going anywhere I just have to take my time and trust that I can do it. I finally took the last step to reach the top of the mountain. I made it. I did it. And before I could catch my breath all I could say was wow. I was either one of two things: breath taken or simply out of breath from the hike haha. You look to your left and look to your

right and have a full 360° panoramic view of mountains and valleys. Looking East to Mount Silliman, Alta Peak, and the Great Western Divide. Looking west, views extend over mountain ranges into the foothills. You’re blown away. The beauty that you see is like nothing you’ve ever seen before and you realize how much the hike up was truly worth it. Now, on the way down you pass people who are on their way up and it’s completely different. It’s a breeze going down and you feel like you could keep going down forever and ever. Going up seems like the hardest journey and you probably won’t want to do it again. After thinking about it, I thought to myself this is what the journey to God looks like. 

You start your journey all excited for change, for happiness, and for God to fill your life. You also see what your reward is, an eternal life with Jesus, Heaven. When people start their journey with God, it's so important to know a few things. God doesn't remove your obstacles in this life, rather, He makes a way through them. You will be tested, you’ll be tired, and it’s a whole lot easier to go down then it is to go up. It’s easier to go down with the ways of the world than to keep fighting and push through to the life God has called you to. It seems impossible at times and you’re out of breath. You feel like the end is so far away and so hard to achieve. But God says that we will be tested. It says this in James 1:12 “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.” And I think this perfectly explains the journey with God by your side. Your faith will be tested, times seem hard, but you have to keep in mind that your end goal is heaven. It’s not worth going down because you’ve come so far. 

The beauty that awaited me at the top of that mountain is the same beauty that awaits you when God calls you home. He wants to meet you at the top of the mountain. He wants you to keep pushing through the fight. He wants you to bring as many people as you can along this journey no matter how hard it may get. He wants you to encourage people. He wants you to never give up because if you keep in mind what your end goal is, nothing on the way will matter. 

We can get so easily distracted by people going down and speaking lies such as “come on, just come, it’s a lot easier”. Keeping your eyes fixed on the Lord and never giving up will be the best fight you could ever fight. There is nothing compared to the joy that awaits you in heaven. The joy that you will feel when you finally reached the top and you get to look into the eyes of Jesus and he will tell you “well done good and faithful servant” So whatever is distracting, you whoever is speaking lies into your life and telling you that it’s so much easier to do your own thing and to be disobedient to God, get new friends. Pray that God will give you the strength to keep pursuing heaven. Keep pursuing the beautiful eternity that awaits us. What’s your reward at the bottom of the mountain? Dirt? Weeds? Regret? And what’s your reward at the very top of the mountain? Undeniable beauty, breath taking views, eternal treasures, and a landscape that God has formed with his own hands. 

So if you are struggling to pursue God, give it everything you’ve got. I want to encourage you to fix your eyes on him, fix your eyes at the top of the mountain, and never look behind you. Never ever turn around and go the other direction. Keep your eyes fixed on the one who rewards you for the tough journey you took to make it to heaven. Never give up because the Lord has never given up on you. No matter how many steps you’ve taken down, no matter how far you’ve ran in the other direction, the Lord has never left your side. He’s never taken away the beauty at the top of that mountain because he promises it to those who call on His name. It’s there for everyone, the free gift of salvation.

It’s not going to be an easy journey by any means, the Lord never said it would be. You will be tested but the testing of your faith produces perseverance so that you can overcome all the struggles on the way up that mountain. The Temptations on your way will only be a blow of the wind or a little mist of rain. The more you learn about him, the more you pray, the more you seek him, the easier it gets to keep your eyes fixed on the Lord. Your Temptations will never go away but your will to say no will only get stronger. Keep your eyes fixed at the top of the mountain. Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus the pioneer and perfector of our faith.  

x Lauren a

Hebrews 12:1-3 

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning it’s shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” 

Hebrews 12:7

“Endure hardship as discipline.”

Hebrews 12:11

“No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest and peace for those who have been trained by it.” 

Galatians 18:40

“You were running a good race. Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying the truth? That kind of persuasion does not come from the one who calls you.”