The End: -Final Reflections and Thoughts
We all have mountains we must climb, obstacles we must overcome, summits we must conquer and peaks we must reach. Sometimes on this life’s journey there is no choice in the matter, sometimes there is little or no preparation time before embarking on this journey and sometimes the option of whom we go with and is on our ‘team’ or the tools we utilise or have available, may be limited. However, climb we must.
I hope that after reading my farcical experience, it serves as both a fable and an education, as I overcame adversity in the form of both a physical mountain and spiritual obstacles. As stated we all have, or will experience situations in our lives we need to address, confront and overcome. Whether it be a mountain of debt, obesity, depression, sickness, fear or something like procrastination etc– we all need to reach a blessed summit of some kind to progress.
A much needed life lesson I learned from my mountain experience is that if you have the opportunity to research and prepare for an event/situation/journey etc, I would recommend that you do not pass up the opportunity to do so. You will not be worse off for your efforts, even a little can go a long way and end up saving you a lot of stress and pain further down the line. Though with that said, even with planning and research, setbacks happen and life doesn’t always go according to plan.
One thing for sure is that on this journey of life, we encounter unexpected situations that we may not have been fully prepared for. Using my situation as an example, I actually managed to have a valley low on a mountain high! It’s our response to situations that ultimately determines our success, having a meltdown due to fear in the midst of a trial, doesn’t tend to make any situation better. After all 2 Tim 1:7, God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. However heartfelt prayer no matter how basic, ineloquent or desperate will because trying to accomplish anything without God is at least twice as hard. Inviting the Lord through prayer, into a dire and hopeless situation will undoubtedly change any type of problem or circumstance for the better.
Another lesson learned is that ‘Good Samaritans’ may not appear to be obviously so, blessings can and do come in disguise and destiny helpers come in all shapes and sizes. No matter how self-sufficient and independent you are, there may come a time in your life when you need others, or be required to work with others in a team in order to accomplish a goal. For a team to be successful, it is necessary they pass through the forming, storming, norming and performing (FSNP) phases. How quickly this is achieved will depend on willing attitudes, egos and personality traits.
In my circumstance, a key turning point on the trek to the mountain top was when we began to praise and worship. This changed the atmosphere within the group, invited the presence of God and galvanised us in a way that not even food and drink could. It stopped my worry and fear as I took my eyes off my immediate situation and shifted focus onto the grace and goodness of God. Life is full of challenges that take us out of our comfort zone into the unfamiliar (especially true if you want to achieve something in life). The only thing constant we can control in continuously changing circumstances is our response to adversity or any type of unexpected issue.
I used the Word and my knowledge of God, reminding myself of scriptures like 2 Corinthians 10:5 – ‘We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ’. I eventually learned that doing this was a key to peace and an act of faith every time I fearfully thought I was going to die. So even though I was shocked and thrown by the circumstances that unfolded, God was not unaware, taken by surprise and was my ever present help in troubling times.
The option to give up/ turn back/ stop etc. was taken off the table very early on in my journey to the top of the mountain. Therefore I had no choice, I had to face my fears and deal with the situation in order to overcome the challenge. However in my past, when presented with the option to give up, step back when things got really hard etc, I had often taken it and regretted it. An old adage that still holds true is that winners never quit and quitters never win. Successful people persevere, stay the course, don’t give up and endure hardship if necessary in order to achieve their goals. Also another truism is that what you perceive to be impossible will remain so until you do it.
A bit like the instances of Elijah by the brook and John the Baptist questioning the deity of Jesus, even the strongest of us have moments of doubt. Confronted with the circumstance that I was going to be forced to climb a mountain in flip flops, with a small juice and four sweets for nourishment and with a group of strangers in torrential downpour – my faith was challenged. That morning I had prayed for protection, strength and that the Lord would lead and guide my steps, which really equalled in my mind praying for an easy, safe and trouble free day….ha, how wrong was I? Aside from learning to appreciate the value of research and planning, I also learned that adversity can be a great teacher.
I learned the answer to the question ‘I’m a Christian, why is this happening to me? As I discovered that being a Christian does not mean avoidance of any serious problems and to be fair, in the Bible there are many examples of this being the case (such as Daniel in the lion’s den, Paul in prison etc). Furthermore Jesus actually advises in John 16:33 that Christians should expect adversity. Irrespective of this though, I’d previously chosen not to take heed – I’d always preferred to skim past those scriptures and not dwell on them. So as a result a life lesson I learned was that, no one is exempt – people who are righteous and have a relationship with the Lord will still experience adversity.
In order to develop strength and character as a child of God, it’s likely we will experience some testing times and it’s through challenging experiences that we discover how anchored we are in Christ. Faith is essential for living a victorious life and God uses adversity to help us develop and grow in holiness, in order that we be more like Him. That said, never forget this fact, the Lord will always respond to the cry of His children. We can as I found, be assured that God will never leave us or forsake us when we call upon Him in times of trouble. So do not give up when going through any kind problem, persecution, trial or adversity. Do not stop trusting in God in the midst of trouble, reject any thought that would cause you doubt the power and truth of God’s ability.
Do not quit or give up hope, press on because there is nothing too hard for God and there is no circumstance that is impossible for God to help you through. I learned through my unplanned mountain trek experience that no matter how scary, dire and hopeless the circumstances are, to keep pressing ahead because when you are with God, you can make it through anything. When we persevere through hardship, the Holy Spirit will help, guide and shape us through our problems. As a result, you will as I did, come through trials and adversity with confidence, character and a great testimony of God’s goodness that will be worth sharing.
The biggest and best lesson to come from everything though, is the importance of having a relationship with God. If you don’t have one I implore you to develop one as facing this life’s unexpected challenges without Him is difficult. The Lord has given us many assurances and will deliver every time:-
The Lord promises to deliver us as His children out of and through our afflictions when we believe and trust in Him. The righteous person may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all. (Psalm 34:19)
I end this series with prayer,
Dear Lord, for those who have never had a relationship with you, but desire one- I pray that from today through confession that they are sinners, belief in the redeeming power of You on the cross of Calvary and finally acceptance of You as their Lord and saviour, that you will reside within and transform them. Today truly is the day of their salvation, In Jesus mighty name,
For those that once knew You, but are far from You now, I pray that they are restored to a right relationship with You and from this day forth will always walk closely with you, Amen.
Lord, in this life we, your children have goals we want to achieve, destinations to arrive at and summits to reach and in doing so, You know that there will be mountains to climb and challenges to face. Therefore, just as you were with me when I did so in adverse conditions, I pray Lord that you will protect, guide and direct every person who is reading this when they call on You. So that they too will have a testimony to share about how they made it through by the goodness and grace of God.