Life, like the West Coast Trail
The West Coast Trail of Vancouver island is world famous for beautiful scenery and rugged wilderness. It’s also world famous for chewing up the resolve and the boots of those people who hike it. My hike consisted of five grueling days of carrying everything on my back, over 40 lbs on my back – tent, water, gear, food and clothing. And it is not a gentle walk on flat paved sidewalk. There are all sorts of obstacles. Ladders, 50’ high, mud bogs up to 2’ deep and 10’ across, scaling across boulders the size of garages and giant log jambs that would extend for SEVERAL miles at a time.
Doing all of this racing against a tide that would make beaches impassable at times, which could leave any hiker stranded and possibly risking their life. No joke. Even though my son and I had trained for months, the challenge for a couple of prairie kids was really quite shocking. It became a race against time.
The setting for this race is one of the most beautiful places in the world. Whales passing along on the ocean side, eagles soaring back and forth overhead, otters and foxes darting in and out on the beach and sea lions basking in the sun. Massive old growth trees towering overhead on the forest side.
I would sit down to catch my breath from the exertion of the hike, but when i looked up the scene in which I found myself would steal my breath away. One moment is grueling effort and the next moment is exhilarating freedom. Its feeling the weight of the mud on your boots pulling you down on each step and then looking up to find you have stumbled into the most mystical little ocean cove of clear water and colourful sea stars, and a fairy-tale waterfall. It’s feeling deflated and insignificant pushing waste deep through a mud bog and then being overcome with the awesome realization that the crashing waves, brilliant orange and red sunset and your presence in it is God’s delight.
Well, our inexperience hiking in a rain forest was to my detriment. Having ‘water-proof’ boots, and dealing with exhaustion, made us think we could actually cross a small river with our boots on. Guess what? My feet got wet…and we still needed to hike another two days. With each passing hour, my feet literally took a beating and the boots never dried out . By the final day, I had second degree burns and blisters on my feet due to friction. EVERY…SINGLE…STEP…was incredibly painful, and we still had one more day of hiking. We had heard this was the most challenging part of the hike. Uphill all the way! STEP – PAIN! by STEP – PAIN! by STEP – PAIN! All uphill for hours…oh the torment…when will it end?
I couldn’t take it any longer. I literally sat down on a log, broke down and started crying. Suddenly something amazing happened. Right there in the middle of my despair and creation’s majesty the Lord gave me an open vision and His Word to encourage me…the veil between Heaven and earth opened and I saw that I was in a race. I saw my mother cheering me on… “You can do it Colette! Just a few more miles to go!!!” I saw her and the cloud of witnesses cheering me on, along the sideline. The Lord gave me strength to get up and run the race! Then I heard in my mind the Scripture, “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.” (Hebrews 12:1)
I finished that journey. And the struggle was worth it.
Every one of us is on the same kind of journey, sometimes the path is easy and there are not many obstacles. Other times though, and seemingly more frequent, EVERY…SINGLE…STEP…is so painful. “How much longer Lord? When will the journey end? When will I get to my PRIZE and see you face to face?” Just remember, there truly IS a great cloud of witnesses cheering us on – perhaps Moses, Abraham, your loved one! “You can do it! Just a few more miles to go!!!” And once we get there, HE will be WORTH every single step!!!
shared by Colette Scharf