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  • Chris Crosby

Hitting the Trail

I wasn't sure I could do it. The trail looked like it was downhill for 1.7 miles. At first that would be awesome until I remembered that I had return on the same route which meant uphill for the same 1.7 miles. We had already hiked several trails in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, but this one was different.

This one was part of the Appalachian Trail and there was only one car in the parking lot of the trailhead. All the other trails had been very crowded and loud. This one was peaceful and quiet. It appeared we had the whole trail to ourselves.

As we started our hike, the doubts assailed. Would I be able to make the return trip? I questioned my abilities, but knew I wanted to try. As we set out, I was able to enjoy the scenery, the peaceful surroundings and the varied landscape. After about a mile, we caught glimpses of beautiful panoramic views of the mountains and valleys surrounding us on both sides. We were walking a ridgeline of a mountain chain so there were valleys on both sides and more mountains beyond. Low clouds hung in places creating a gorgeous landscape.

Success at the end of the trail was delightful. It was not an easy 3.4 miles, and although short, it challenged me. The feeling of overcoming something I didn’t think I could conquer proved rewarding and fulfilling.

Whether facing a hiking trail, or a different type of trial, know that God takes you each step of the way. I learned the best way to accomplish the seemingly impossible was to just take the next step. There were several things that were vital to the success of my trip.

1. A guide map – We had a map of the trail detailing the terrain. The best guide map we have in this life is the Holy Spirit. He knows every trail, short cut, and potential danger and can guide us successfully through whatever life throws at us. (Psalm 32:8-I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.)

2. Food and Water – Adequate food and water is vital when hitting the trail. So it is in life. We should draw our nutrients from the Living Word, the Bible. Scripture provides the nutrients we need to survive. (Matthew 4:4-Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.)

3. Companion – On my hike that day, I had the support of my husband. In life, the Holy Spirit is always with us, but we also need others to encourage us and hold us up in prayer through the challenges we face. Just as Moses needed Aaron and Hur to hold up his arms during the battle, or when Jesus needed his disciples to pray with Him before He went to the cross, so we also need others to be there in time of need. (Proverbs 11:14-Where there is no counsel, the people fall; but in the multitude of counselors there is safety.)

Whatever trail you are currently on, make sure you are prepared with your guide, essential supplies and a good companion. The Holy Spirit will lead you to some amazing places that you couldn’t reach on your own.

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