“This is the point where I’m tempted to say I don’t think I can go any further,” said my friend, Carolyn.
We were taking a hike in North Carolina yesterday morning–the Memminger Path to Glassy Mountain on the grounds of Carl Sandburg’s home in Flat Rock–when we both felt weary. Even though I had been on mountain hikes in the past that were more rugged than this one, it had been awhile since I’d done any hiking. Being from Florida, I was not accustomed to uphill walking and found myself getting out of breath and having achy muscles.
The sign at the beginning of the trail said 1.2 miles, but in the past on mountain hikes I’ve wondered how the person measuring the mileage figured it out. Often the distances seemed much further than what was posted.
“If only they had a sign that said, ‘this is how far you have left to go,'” said Carolyn “then things would be easier.”
We stopped for a little break, and up the path came a woman who looked a bit older but also healthier than we were. She used a walking stick and walked at a brisk pace.
“Are we almost there?” we asked.
“It’s not too much further,” she assured us and urged us onward.
We began to walk with her, and forgot about our weariness as we entered into conversation with our new companion. We discovered her name, where she lived, where she went to church and the fact that she walked up and down this mountain path every day of the week except Sunday.
Soon we were at an area where there was rock instead of dirt under our feet.
We thought we were at the end of our journey, but our new friend said, “Follow me over here.” She led us across the rock and down a path with a sign at its beginning we hadn’t noticed, which said something about a view. When we came into a clearing, there was a beautiful mountain vista.
Walking on the path down to our starting point, I couldn’t help but reflect on my spiritual life as I thought of Mary and the help she’d given us. We were weary with our walk, and she came along and encouraged us and then walked alongside us. Then when we got to what we thought was the top, she showed us the way to go further where we were blessed with experiencing a grand display of God’s beauty.
I thanked God for the encouragement we received from Mary, our walking companion and reflected on those who had encouraged me on my path in my Christian life. I thought of how much Carolyn had encouraged me during my days with her and thanked her for that. She thanked me for the same.
God urges us all to be encouragers.
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up… 1 Thessalonians 5:11 NIV
God has been so gracious to send many encouragers my way and to give me the privilege of encouraging others. Both are blessings and add much richness and joy to my life.
How about you? Can you think of people God has sent to encourage you? Consider taking the time to thank God for these dear ones–and thank them. And maybe ask God if there is someone you can encourage today.