The True Things We Forget as We Grow Up

I drew a large letter "T" on a scratch piece of paper. I looked my inquisitive preschool daughter in the eyes and said, "this big letter T stands for trust". This was my humble attempt to help my four-year old memorize scripture. Proverbs 3:5 is a simple verse, that many children learn early. A lifelong believer like me had moved on to digging into deeper theological truths and wrestling with passages that involved more study. This was a grave error I had made. Somewhere in my life's journey I had forgotten some of God's promises that I learned as a child. In my most recent trials and struggles I had done everything but cling to real truth of Proverbs 3:5, a truth I discovered so long ago. 

 I was nine years old, and my family was vacationing in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. One morning I eagerly woke up anticipating an exciting venture with my father. He had promised to take me on a nature hike, something I had never done before in the mountains. My dad was experienced. He had climbed mountains and walked trails much bigger in Colorado. This would be "light weight" to him, but a huge deal to me. 

 The morning of the hike was drizzly. It had rained all night, making conditions less than favorable. However, this didn't stop my dad. He was excited for me to take this adventure with him. We packed lunches and a few supplies, kissed mom, and headed out for the hike. I never expected it to be so difficult. The rain had made the trails muddy and slushy. When our feet weren't sticking, they were slipping on the parts of the trail that were more rocky. We hadn't even walked a mile before I was ready to quit. I was exhausted from the steep walking. I was also getting wet and cold. These weren't the conditions I envisioned when my father asked me to come with him. I thought it would be easier and more pleasant. I never imagined I would reach a point in which I desperately wanted to stop following him, but I had. I wanted to sit and pout. I wanted to turn around. I wanted to go back and get in my comfortable bed. I even vocally protested this to my dad, but he persisted. "Son, we need to keep moving. I have something for you to see," he said. 

 We trudged on, much to my disdain, and eventually reached a point in which we could walk no longer. "From here, we have to climb a bit," my dad said with a grin. I couldn't believe it! I would have thought he was kidding if it weren't for the fact that he started climbing up the damp rocks. I remember wondering if what he was doing was safe, but the challenge didn't seem to phase him. " I have something to show you," he continued to say. Just when I thought I had reached a point where I couldn't take anymore risk, my dad climbed up to a position above me that I knew would be too large a feat for me. My dad was standing on a rock above my head, and there appeared to be no end in sight. "Take my hands," he yelled as he laid on the rock and reached over to pull me up. 

 "I don't think I can do it, dad," I yelled back. I don't know the exact height, but as a young kid it seemed that he was thousands of feet above me. Not only that, if he were to drop me, I would fall off this high rocky cliff we had already climbed. I didn't want to do it. "You'll be fine," he answered back. "Trust me, I've done this before. There's something amazing to see. I promise." I wanted to trust him, but at this point it was getting difficult. I had no idea how much further we had to go. The journey had already been rough, tiring, and scary. I was ready for it to end. This was my stopping point. But Dad wouldn't let it go. He continued, "Reach up here! I will not let you go!" 

 Finally, I surrendered and lifted my hands to his. He grabbed tightly onto my wrists, and with ease lifted me to his rock. "There! That wasn't so bad," he said with his fatherly smirk. "I told you that I had something for you to see." At those words, I looked before me and saw one of the most amazing sites my eyes had ever beheld. The journey was over. We had reached the summit. I could see mountains extending for miles. Fog was settling in a beautiful green valley below us, and the overwhelming scope of God's creation took my breath away. To top it off, a magnificent rainbow had settled in between the mountains. How fitting. The rainbow is a symbol of a promise of God, a promise to trust His word. My dad had just made me a promise, and even though I was scared to follow and trust his word, I still did it and got to see his promise fulfilled firsthand.

 That's the story that brought the truth of Proverbs 3:5 to life for me. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. My understanding as an eager nine-year old was that my dad had made a mistake by bringing me on the difficult journey through the mountains. At least that was my understanding until I realized that he knew what he was doing, making the trials of the trails worth it. My trials now are no different. I have a Heavenly Father navigating me through the difficult trails. He has asked me to trust him and not look around at my circumstances with my own logic and perspective. Its important that I see things through His perspective.

 It's funny. I thought I was teaching my daughter how to memorize a simple verse. It looks like God was reminding me of a great truth, a truth I had lost sight of.  How wonderful it is, knowing the beauty that awaits us at the summit. I pray that will forever be my focus.