Today, I’m so excited to share with you a special guest post from my sister-in-law, Caitlin. I can’t tell you how much I love and adore her and I’m so grateful she was willing to share this post with all of us. She originally wrote it for her church’s devotional in response to the question: How has Jesus met you on your spiritual journey?
Without further ado, here’s Caitlin!
Did you know that only 1% of visitors to the Grand Canyon make it to the bottom? It’s true: almost everyone sticks to the beautiful views from the top, or embarks on a short hike part of the way down. Can you blame them?
One year ago my family decided we needed to be in that elusive/crazy 1%. In May 2013, we started our bucket-list journey to the bottom of the Canyon and back. For me, the trip was also a personal milestone: I had been diagnosed with a form of arthritis one year prior, and was struggling with sore joints and pain along with the emotional toll of living with a chronic illness.
Over the course of 3 days, we hiked a total of 16 miles–over 9,000 vertical feet! No amount of training could have prepared me for the strenuous physical challenge of this hike. I was hot, dusty, and sore. It seemed like even my blisters grew blisters. My body was pushed to the limit – and I still had to hike back out of the Canyon!
As I began the 10 mile trek back up to the Canyon Rim on the third day of our adventure, I remember silently asking God for supernatural strength and energy to keep going. I was beyond exhausted emotionally and physically. My body was aching from the sore joints caused by my arthritis. At a certain point about 2 miles from the top, I legitimately wondered how I was going to make it to the end.
How often do we come to a point on our journey where the only thing we have left to do is cry out to God and ask for his strength? We’ve tried everything else, and we realize (yet again) that we can’t do it on our own. We can’t take another step without Him.
Eventually, through a lot of prayer and some fabulous coaches, I made it to the top, one step at a time. Jesus met me on the trail that day.
When it was all over, I remember looking out, back over the path I had hiked up, with tears in my eyes at the thought of how much I had accomplished and how far He had led me.
Not only did I finish the hike, checking off one more item on my bucket-list, but I left the Canyon with a sense of awe at how Jesus had been so faithful to bring me through a year-long emotional roller-coaster.
He was there with me in both the struggle and the celebration, and He gave me the strength to push through to the end when everything seemed impossible: not just out of the Canyon, but through so much more.
And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.
1 Peter 5:10