It’s a strange thing…Getting the test first and then the lesson.
In trials you will learn more and grow more than when the sun is shining.
You grow when trials come.
Think. When did you grow the most? When you had no problems or when trials came and you learned to endure?
When I first started my hike of the Colorado Trail in Durango I had a really tuff time—crummy weather, no hiker legs, overweight backpack, steep northbound climbs, missing gear, and a can-do-anything attitude.
My physical body was under stress. I was cold and uncomfortable. Why were these things happening? To make me miserable? Or to grow patience in my life and make me a stronger person?
I was being tested.
To overcome difficulty of trying times, you have to learn to endure.
I got back on trail after a spell of hardship knowing that there was something more important that I needed to learn if I’d only stick it out and finish what was started.
While I wasn’t sure exactly what the lesson was, I knew it would be bigger and more important than anything else I had ever learned on trail before. I just had to get back on and ride this thing out.
The trail was hard…BUT
Hardship builds long-suffering. What is long-suffering? The word long-suffering means “patience in spite of troubles.” Long-suffering is not simply the ability to put up with pain and suffering. It is that but it is also more than that.
William Barclay said, “It is not the patience which can sit down and bow its head and let things descend upon it and passively endure until the storm has past. It is the spirit which can bear things, not simply with resignation but with blazing hope.”
In other words, it’s not simply sticking it out but turning trials into glory.
So that is the lesson I’m learning out here on the Colorado Trail and has become the theme of this hike.
By the way, the trail got much easier, I got my hiker legs after 150 miles, and my daily mileage went way up. The weather eventually cleared as the sun moved away the clouds. All the early misery I felt was wiped away with abounding optimism and hope for a successful completion of the trail!
What I learned is not just a parable for hikers—it’s a life lesson.
You know, difficult times can become the greatest opportunities of our lives to grow like never before. These “problems” may be just what we need—a kick in the pants. For they are not obstacles but opportunities to grow patience and to make you stronger.
I walked a mile with Pleasure;
She chatted all the way;
But left me none the wiser
For all she had to say.
I walked a mile with Sorrow;
And ne’er a word said she;
But, oh! The things I learned from her,
When Sorrow walked with me.
-Robert Browning Hamilton