Jesus Wears Snowshoes
By Brock S. Henning
I leaned over my hiking poles, gasping for oxygen like a fish out of water. Snow and ice hung like weights on the lodgepole pine, a constant reminder of the heaviness over my soul. And with every crunching step of my snowshoes, my leg muscles responded with the rhythmic burn of my private anger.
Not two years prior had I climbed one of Colorado’s 14,000-foot mountains with relative ease, but on this day I struggled to reach a Rocky Mountain foothill that stands 3,000 feet lower. I grumbled at myself for slacking my regular exercise program over the past year. I complained to God that this refreshing outing is yet another example that sustaining joy in life is too much work.
Where do I find time for consistent exercise anyway, between marriage, three children, homework, youth sports, a full-time job, church, writing projects, home repair, and paying the bills? God, how do You expect people to reach their potential, to make a difference in the world, when we’re so exhausted? I looked up from the crusty snow on my boots and saw the answer.
What had felt like the challenge of a Mt. Everest ice field had been reduced to a leisurely snowshoe-packed trail cut through two feet of snow. Someone had already sweated the chore of trudging through snow drifts, risking their own safety over hidden drop-offs, to mark the surest route to the summit. My part became simple—quit complaining and keep walking.
If we would pause when we’re frustrated with our responsibilities, when our goals and dreams are vanishing, when we’re pushing and striving and bushwhacking and complaining that no end is in sight, we would hear God say, “’This is the way; walk in it’” (Isaiah 30:21b, NIV). Jesus has already prepared the path; we just have to follow Him. (John 10:4).
The apostle Paul reminds us that our perseverance holds eternal value and that a positive attitude is as brilliant as shining stars:
Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life—in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing. (Philippians 2:14-16, NIV.)
Let that trickle to your heart: that we do not run or labor for nothing. Even in the monotony of our daily routine, God is transforming our character to shine like the stars, to make a positive difference in our marriages, our families, our churches, with our neighbors, our coworkers, and those we have yet to meet.
And we can do this. We can reach our summits and help others do the same. “With all this going for us, my dear, dear friends, stand your ground. And don’t hold back. Throw yourselves into the work of the Master, confident that nothing you do for him is a waste of time or effort” (1 Corinthians 15:58, MSG).
Eventually my breathing regulated, the trees stopped spinning around me, and my heart smoothed its pace. The sun became more brilliant as I neared treeline. My soul warmed.
I reached the summit, one step at a time, and the view was spectacular.
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Brock S. Henning resides in Golden, Colorado, with his beautiful wife, Sarah, and their three children. Brock enjoys spending time in the great outdoors and writing about the wilder side of God’s creation. He also writes to encourage others through life’s difficulties and more at his Lifesummit blog (www.brockhenning.com).
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