“Sometimes we walk in mud puddles when we have the opportunity to play in Niagara Falls.” I’ve pondered this statement from our campus chapel’s spring semester for a while now. I think the interesting thing is that we don’t always realize when we are sitting in a mud puddle. Oh sure, there are plenty of identifiable ones like breaking up with a loved one, getting fired, failing a class, and so on. At the same time I have to wonder, do we ever look around at our comfortable lives, and in the safety and ease think “there is more out there!”
One of the things we did in our first year of living in the Appalachian Mountains was a hike out at The Cascade Waterfalls. When we drove out we actually passed our turn a few times. The road we needed to take to the hiking trail was not well marked at all.
After we finally parked and unloaded we discovered that there were two trail options. There was the straight path or the “scenic trail”. Neither path was well labeled and we ended up on the scenic trail (note to self, in the mountains scenic does NOT mean easy). It was a very challenging hike for me, not really easy for any of us, but I needed the most breaks. As we hiked and hiked there was a stream of water that we followed. Sometimes it was wider, other times not even easily found. As we got closer to the waterfalls we began to hear it. At one point our boys said they could see the falls up ahead. I looked up and discovered just a small fall, more like a bucket of water pouring down. The thing is, they didn’t really know what to expect from the Cascade, so when they saw water falling from a rock they were content.
As their parents, we knew better. We knew that the waterfall was going to be worth the continued hike….or at least I hoped it would! As the path finally cleared we saw the falls. The roar was so loud we could not hear each other without raising our voices.
Our boys were so excited. They hurried to peel off shoes and swim. The water was refreshing after the hike, as we ate our picnic lunch our older son told me how glad he was we had kept hiking. It was not an easy hike by any means, but in life I think the best things take a little extra work. It would have been much easier for me to turn around after the first waterfall was spied. It also would have been fine with the boys. They would have eventually discovered that our trip hadn’t been complete, but in the meantime, they would have gone on content.
God, as our heavenly father, isn’t always content to let us stop where we are first comfortable either. He may let us stop and rest for a while, but He knows what is beyond the next bend. Because God knows how things end He often asks us to continue on our walk, even when we are not ready. To the human eye, these experiences look like mud puddles. They can be messy, and hard and we would much rather avoid them. Mud puddles also come in the form of settling. We date that guy because he keeps hanging around. He might make us feel bad about ourselves, but he says he loves us. We take the easier job where we make more money even though it means we aren’t fulfilling our dreams.
The thing about some waterfalls is that they aren’t always the easiest thing to find. The path can be challenging, frustrating, even scary at times. That doesn’t mean the finish line is not worth the trip.