On an August vacation to the Canadian Rockies, my wife and I hiked Parker Ridge in the northern part of Banff National Park. It is advertised as a don't miss 2-hour roundtrip hike with breathtaking views. But with a 250 meter elevation gain (i.e., ~820 feet for those Americans who don't have the conversion thing down), it comes at a price to your lungs and legs. The huffing and puffing on what turned out to be a 40-minute hike up for us was so worth it when we got up to the ridge and saw the huge Saskatchewan Glacier. I could only say, "Wow, Lord!" as I was again stunned by His creation. As we explored the ridge and walked further we took in more of the glacier, the hard-to-describe ice blue lake at the bottom of the glacier and eventually an emerald pool hundreds of feet below. My sense of worship for Creator God grew and grew.
While the hike up took away my breath physically, the magnificence of this bit of His creation took away my breath spiritually. For me, it was a reminder of what Romans 1:20 says:
For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made.
On the way down the trail, I thought about how the steep ascent of the Parker Ridge hike and that burn in my lungs and my legs was no-questions-asked worth it when we got to the ridge. And I asked myself why I don't put in this type of stretching, huffing, puffing, working hard, effort toward sanctification in my daily walk with the Lord. Every time I have actively participated and God has made major changes in my life, it has been worth it. I have never once wanted it the way it used to be.
As I look at the pictures we took from the top of Parker Ridge -- and as Pastor James really hits it this weekend with the "Lord Change Me" series -- I am committed to the work to gain elevation in my walk with the Lord, to work hard to attain the change God has for me. How about you? Will you be on the easy trail? Or will you be on the steep climb to the next ridge the Lord has for you?