“Aren’t you going to hike with us down to the falls?” I asked a loved one while on the Glen Burney Falls trail in Blowing Rock, North Carolina earlier this summer.
“I’m too worn out,” she answered. “I’ll wait for you here.”
We had been hiking for an hour, and it was true that she didn’t have the hiking experience that I and another member of our group did.
“But the falls is what this hike is all about,” I said.
The Glen Burney falls are not spectacular, but they are lovely to me. Perhaps it’s because they reside in the town I like so much. Also part of the beauty is in the getting there on a trail that at times is rugged, but beautiful as the trail leads the hiker to be totally enveloped in trees and other plantlife.
This was the third time I and another person in our little group had hiked this trail together.
“I’m staying with her,” a fourth member of our group said and pointed to Miss I-refuse-to-go-to-see-the-falls.”
“But the falls…” I tried to coax again.
“Forget it,” they both insisted and sat down on a fallen log to rest.
After a fairly short trek down, I and my fellow eager companion arrived at the secluded and serene Glen Burney Falls. The sun glimmered on the water and the rocks. The surrounding plant life was a lush green and added to the loveliness of the scene.
“I feel so bad that they are missing this,” I said aloud.
Then since we had to wait for other hikers to get photos of themselves with the falls in the background, I said, “I’ll be right back,” and hurried on the path to where I had left the other two members of our group to see if they were rested enough to join us.
They were gone.
Most likely they had hiked back to the trail head.
I scurried back to the falls, and enjoyed more gazing at them and the scenery all around followed by some photo-taking time.
For the rest of our stay in Blowing Rock what went through my mind repeatedly was, “But they missed the falls,” and “Seeing the falls was what the hike was all about.”
The feeling I had as I thought about this reminded me of the feeling I have when people proclaim to be Christians but fail to experience the love and presence of God by going deeper into a relationship with Him.
This is what the Christian hike (walk) is all about, I communicate to them and urge them to move closer to God. But like my friends on the hike, they hold back for various reasons and miss the best part.
As I pondered this I was reminded of Luke 10:27:
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, andyour neighbor as yourself.” (ESV)
As we do, we experience His love. We draw near to Him, and He draws near to us. (See James 4:8) This brings us to a lovely serene place in our souls where we can experience His presence and His peace.
How sad I feel for those who miss out on all God has for them and lead other to miss out as well.
Some days I am one of those.
Lord, help me to experience all You have for me. I pray for those who are “missing it” that they will continue on the trail until they know You in a deep way and experience Your great love and learn to rest securely in Your presence. Draw me back quickly to priorities when I am missing what the Christian life is all about. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen