• Jill Jarrell Newsome

Hiking The Journey

Sarah had wanted to take me to the famous, Cannon Beach. National Geographic Magazine named Cannon Beach “one of The World’s 100 Most Beautiful Places”. To get there, we drove through snow and rain. It was cold to the bone, as Granny always said, the kind of cold that you cannot get warm the rest of the day. I love to hike and I love to be in nature but I was not looking forward to this. I was layered, had a hat, a raincoat and rubber booties, hoping to stay dry. I kept the smile and enthusiasm but you should have heard my inner roommate talking. "This is stupid. Look at all of the mud. You are going to freeze." It is not unusual for Sarah to hike/walk nine miles a day. My inner roommate reminded me of that and kept making sure I noticed that every step was uphill. Finally, I told God, "I know those thoughts are not of you, please take them away." It changed my whole attitude. I began to see the beautiful landscape and appreciate God's creation.


Much of the trail, we dodged deep mud puddles, something similar to quicksand, slippery places, etc. Then I would see a beautiful creek or small waterfall. I tightrope walked on slippery branches that were in the mud puddles which took up the whole width of the trail. Soaked my gloves while trying not to fall in the mud puddle face first. We got to a more difficult part of the trail and as we turned the wind was crazy and the temperature dropped 20 degrees. But when I looked up and saw the dramatic rock formations on the shoreline, the stunning beaches and an angry ocean, it was all worth it!


I knew what God was showing me right before my eyes. These last few months I have been on a journey. Just like this hike, like many of you, we have faced many obstacles. But God showed me, physically, that in the end it will be worth it. I know that I see many blessings from the hardest year in my life. I loved God before and had a close relationship with Him but not like during that time! We can not expect an easy path but we can expect God to go with us. Psalm 46: 1-3, “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,

though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.”


Sometimes it feels like difficult circumstances are pressing in on every side and we feel it is too much! But as God showed me, physically, when we cry out to Him, He is with us, even through the muddy waters. He opens our eyes to show us that He is all around us. Isaiah 43: 1-3, “But now, this is what the Lord says—he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: ‘Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.’” He tells us not to be afraid. Joshua 1: 9, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”


When we were finished hiking I realized due to the dense rain forest, we had a canopy protecting us from the heavy rains. Isn’t that just like God? He is working out our problems as I write this and we don't even realize it. We have to try to think about how much He loves us. He has a purpose and a plan for us. When we think about these things we become overwhelmed with His love for us! Ephesians 3: 14-16, “For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being…” We need to speak these Scriptures to our hearts. This will help us strengthen our faith so we can trust that God is surrounding what is surrounding us.


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