The importance of adversity in your life
No Rain, No Pain, No Maine. This is a common mantra on the AT. It’s going to rain, there will be pain. There is no avoiding it and avoiding it will not get you to Maine. 2,190 miles is a very long way to hike. You may experience rain in all its forms from mist or fog to hurricanes over the course of a through hike. You can go days, even weeks at a time with only rain to hike in.
The pain is a given as well. It is estimated that of those who begin at Springer Mountain in Georgia, that only about half of them even make it out of the state of Georgia hiking the AT. That section of the trail is less than 80 miles. Less than 80 miles is all it takes for some hikers to tuck tail, give up and head home. If you make it out of Georgia and hike the whole trail, you’ll take some 5 million steps along the way. Achy muscles, sprained ankles, various scrapes and abrasions, not to mention the blisters will all be had. You will fall. It is not a question of if but only when and how often.
This doesn’t include the multitude of logistical issues that can arise from trying to get into a town for mail drops, finding places to stay, finding water sources, space in shelters, bears and other critters or equipment failure. If you’re going to hike the AT or any of the triple crown trails, adversity is a given.
Think about a time when you have had to endure a physical or mental struggle? How did you make it through? Did you handle that adversity successfully?
We hear it said often but it is hard to sink in sometimes. Following Christ does not automatically afford us a life of sunshine, unicorns and rainbow skittles. Matthew 5:45b “For he makes his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” Everyone has adversity but it is what one does in the face of it and with it that makes the difference. John 16:33 “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” The overcomer in this verse is Christ himself. As His joint heir, we are given the same power to endure and even overcome adversity of any kind. The important aspect of this is that we need to keep believing Christ and all He has promised us.
Just as the hiker’s strength and endurance are vastly improved by the end of a through hike on the AT, so can your strength and endurance in the faith be improved as you walk through adversity. Romans 5:3-5 “Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” The word I love most of all in that verse is hope. If I have hope, I can endure anything. Christ is our hope. So many promises from our savior and friend. We should never be without hope.
What are some of the promises that Christ has given me that will help me know I have a hope?
I will use these promises, look for more promises, and believe these promises in order to trust, endure, and hope in Christ. Yes / No.