One hike my wife and I went on in Colorado was called the Royal Arch. It is not a very long trail but quickly gains over 1,300 feet in elevation. We climbed the stones constructed into a makeshift stairway all the way to the top.
Well, we thought it was the top. Once we reached the highest point, I started asking about the arch. Where is it? What am I missing? We saw stairs cut into the mountain down the backside, but we assumed that would take us back to the trailhead. Only when we asked other hikers did we realize that what seemed like the top was not the summit of the journey.
The trail actually goes down from the first high point onto another section of path that leads you higher to the Royal Arch. If we hadn’t hesitated and asked some questions, I would have turned around and headed back down about 250 yards short of the peak.
On our way down from the top, we saw two other guys taking pictures on the trail’s first pinnacle. Then they turned around and started quickly heading back to the bottom. Unfortunately, they stopped short of this unique rock formation and the spectacular views ahead without reaching the top.
I told my wife I imagined them going home to family and friends and saying how the Royal Arch trail was disappointing, but they had walked all the way up anyway. Little did they know they had missed the best part.
Whenever I talk to someone about their journey of faith, some will tell me they tried it for a while and were disappointed. Sometimes they will even explain how it didn’t seem to improve their life, marriage, or family. I often want to say, “You probably stopped before you reached the best part.” They had a small view of what God had in store but never truly experienced all he had in mind.
The life of faith is a long journey; some of it will only make sense when you reach the end of the trail.