Despair: Psalm 120
Throughout high school and college I was an avid hiker. I would find any excuse to head to the mountains, find a trail-head and journey upward onto the unknown trail. There was an allure in going up — to seek the summit. One trail in particular involved a significant descent into a gorge before the trail started to ascend on the other side.
On my way down, my calves ached, my steps were unsure, and every turn led me seemingly further from my goal. This was not the direction I wanted to go. I wanted to ascend. You do not see amazing views from the floor of a gorge. Yet, sometimes this part of the journey is necessary.
In my trouble I cried to the LORD, and He answered me.
God, why must I go further down? This is not the direction I was created to go!
With my motivation and muscles losing motivation, I questioned stopping and turning around. I thought “if I turn around now, I will have accomplished nothing.” At this moment, I rounded the final switchback and found myself at the bottom of the gorge. In front of me was the raw power of a waterfall cascading down hundreds of feet into a clear pool below. A refreshing cool mist blew off the water and for a moment I forgot my ultimate goal and sat in this moment of beauty.
Sometimes our greatest battles are fought within — between the truth we know and the lies we tell ourselves. My journey is not done. This is but a resting place.
As I stood back up and started again up the trail my attitude took on a new perspective. Even in our despair, God can bring hope. When we cry out in frustration, God hears us. Here I was at rock bottom with a long way to go to reach my goal. With renewed strength I started up the other side.
Today, as I sit at my desk, I am reminded of this journey. As a father and husband the journey becomes more difficult because I am leading my family rather than just myself. My despair, my losing focus effects more than just my journey. Trust and faith become that much more important. As my family and I follow the trail’s ups and downs leading to our ultimate goal, I must ultimately follow the example of my heavenly father and lead in hope.