Backpacking can get tough sometimes. Our first night on our backpacking trip to Isle Royale, we had nine tenths of and inch of rain and discovered our tent was not waterproof. Not only did our sleeping bags and feet get wet, all of our warmest clothes that we had put on the floor of the tent were soaked as well. That night was followed by two more nights of rain and cold temperatures with rain off and on during the day as well. All of the streams we had to cross were swollen with excess run off which meant detours in some instances and some precarious crossings over wet, slippery rocks or log jams in others. We averaged hiking ten miles per day with forty-five pound backpacks, up and down mountains and valleys. When back packing gets hard, your muscles burn, your throat is dry, and you are hungry, wet and sore, having a goal can keep you going. Our third morning, it rained while we had breakfast and broke camp. All of our stuff got wet and of course, that made it weigh more. We hiked all morning in the rain and the goal that kept us going was a fire lookout tower that was three miles away. The fire tower meant shelter from the rain, rest, a drink, and some gorp or granola bars. There were other goals that kept us going when things got tough such as our campsite each night. Arriving there meant we could take off our heavy packs. A couple of times, we new that there were shelters waiting for us at the next campsite which meant we could at least be dry and out of the wind and rain. Something as simple as a bowl of oatmeal and a cup of hot chocolate was the goal we needed to get us out of our warm sleeping bags, pull on our cold, wet clothes and get up for the day.
Sometimes things get hard in our lives as Christians. We may get discouraged, be disappointed, or even tempted to give up. At such times, we need to have goals to keep us going on our spiritual journey. Here are two such goals:
First, we can fix our eyes on Jesus and the joy set before us because of his sacrifice. Hebrews 12;2-3 says, “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
Second, we can look ahead to the heavenly goal God has called us to. Philippeans 3:12-14 says, “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."
When things get hard for you as a Christian, don’t get discouraged, give up or complain. Rather, focus on Christ and his sacrifice. There is nothing we will go through on earth that can compare to the suffering He went through. And focus on the prize that is awaiting you in heaven if you persevere as a good and faithful servant of Christ.