Grueling But Glorious

Last year, my husband hiked a portion of New Hampshire Appalachian Trail called the Pemi Loop. The hike took two days to complete and is described as “31.5 glorious but grueling miles.” True to its description, my husband came home elated… but close to death. This is where the story gets interesting. This summer, he decided to do the hike again, only this time, he asked me to join him. Even more fascinating? I said yes.

When we were dating, we hiked Mt. Washington in New Hampshire. Even though I love to hike, by the time we arrived almost at the top, I was done. It started raining, the wind was gusting at what felt like fifty miles an hour, and we had to shield ourselves behind boulders to stay safe during the last half mile of the hike. I was miserable and mentally questioning if I could make it. Making matters worse, my husband was enjoying himself! At one point he even turned around to smile and give me a big thumbs up! I blame myself for falling in love with a rock climbing, mountaineering enthusiast, but I still made him buy tickets for the train to take us back down the mountain.

So why would I choose to put myself in the same situation by hiking the Pemi Loop? Why would I go after hearing how hard it was on my husband, who had much more hiking stamina than me? Why would I participate in an activity that had “grueling” in the description? Why do I think that this was a good idea at all?

For one, I trust my husband. Yes, I trusted him when we were dating, but there is a new level of trust that comes from building a life with someone. He sees who I am. He knows what I can handle, but also knows when I need a challenge. I know he will plan for every possible scenario with me in mind. He sees the way I have trained and would not think of taking me on this hike unless I was physically capable of completing it. Also, the views are supposed to be spectacular, and he wants to share not only the grueling but the glorious moments of this mountain with me.

Our Pemi Loop adventure is like the adventure I am on with Jesus. Jesus walks with me through the trials of my life. He has me in mind while planning how to get from point A to point B. He has gone before me and knows the terrain. He knows what I can handle. He knows this journey will test my strength, stretch me in ways that I did not know possible, but He also knows I can do it. I can trust Him because of the intimate relationship we have formed over the years. I know that sometimes I will have to go through the grueling to get to the glorious and I am finding peace in that because I know Jesus is sharing each moment of that journey with me.

Psalm 23:4 is a reassuring verse that details exactly how God is walking with us every day of our lives.

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