“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Recently my husband and I took a trip to the Teton Mountains in Wyoming. After sitting in the car sightseeing for 6 hours, I suggested to my hubby that it would be fun to take a hike. I checked over the maps the forest ranger gave us, and picked out an easy-to-moderate trail to “Hidden Falls.” which would take about three hours round trip.
We started our hike around 1:30 pm and I warned my husband to walk at a brisk pace. Sunset was 6:30 pm and we weren’t prepared to hike a mountain trail in the dark. In fact, about a half hour into our hike, we discovered we hadn’t prepared for mountain hiking very well at all. First, we only had a half bottle of water. (Not smart, I know.) Second of all, we had no snacks for some extra energy. Most importantly, we had no emergency items with us. Can anyone say—beginners? Not to mention we are from eastern South Dakota where we don’t have things like grades and steep inclines.
Undaunted by our lack of supplies and smarts, we forged ahead. I guessed it would take 60-90 minutes to reach our destination. I think it was about the hour mark when I began to get tired. Ten minutes later, I started grumbling a little bit. I kept thinking, “Come on, it’s got to be here somewhere. How hidden is Hidden Falls?” We continued to hike another 15 minutes; the climb getting steeper and steeper. We kept meeting other hikers who were on their way back. They encouraged us, cheerfully saying things like, “Not too much further,” or “Just a bit down the path.” “Yeah, right” I thought.
A few minutes later we stopped to catch our breath. At this point we were on the side of the mountain, looking up a very narrow trail, I gave in to my fatigue and told my husband to continue to the top by himself. I knew my gelatin legs wouldn’t carry me one more step. (Plus my planter fasciitis was killing me and I am just a wee bit scared of heights.) Reluctantly my hubby resumed the climb without me. As I rested, I asked myself, “Are you going to go home disappointed in yourself that you just didn’t push through the pain? What about your promise to yourself that you are going to live a life of NO regrets?”
About that time, an elderly gentleman on his way down the mountain stopped to encourage me. “It’s just up about 50 feet and around the corner,” he said. Again, “Yeah, right” echoed in my mind.
But, I said a prayer, mustered up some strength and took the first step. I gingerly hiked to the top, snuggled as close to the side of the mountain as I could get. “My excitement to see the falls pushed past my anxiety, and I crept around the bend.”
As I turned the corner, I met my hubby. He was surprised that I followed him after all. At this point, I was so excited and giddy---I did it! That was until my husband pointed at the sign, which read “Inspiration Point.”
“What?” I moaned as my excitement turned to disappointment. We didn’t want to go to Inspiration Point, we wanted to go Hidden Falls. I read the descriptions of the different trails, Inspiration Point was a 4 to 5 hour hike—moderate to intense in difficulty. We weren’t prepared for a hike of that duration and intensity.
On our way back down the mountain, I pondered. How much of our life is like this hiking experience? We often start down a path, thinking we are headed in the right direction. However in our determination to reach our destination, we stop consulting the map and end up in the wrong location. Or we walk down the path of life, with others cheering us on, but ignore our inner voice and again, end up in the wrong location. Ending up in the wrong location isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it can be wasted time and effort, especially when God has something better planned for us!
So my hubby and I retraced our steps, and guess what we found?