“For we walk by faith, not by sight” 2 Cor. 5:7
Clingmans Dome is located in the Great Smoky mountains national park in Tennessee. It’s the highest point in the park and it has an observation deck that offers views of over 100 miles in every direction. A steep, strenuous, and winding walk up a half mile trail leads to the observation deck.
This is the setting that I found myself in on our family vacation one year. We began the “short” half mile walk up to the observation deck. With the high altitude and the steep trail, the path seems anything but short. After a few minutes, your lungs feel like they’re about to explode.
Benches were wisely installed along to trail to allow you to catch your breath and they were usually occupied. I was there with my parents and my mom had to stop fairly often. Eventually, I went on ahead.
I arrived at the top a few minutes before my parents and waited on them to go onto the observation deck. When they finally made it, my mom told me about an elderly lady that was walking along with my her. She said they talked all the way up and wondered with exhaustion how much farther they had to go. They hoped their destination was around each curve.
Finally, as they were resting at a bench, the elderly lady announced to my mom that she had endured enough. She was going to turn back. My mother wished her well and continued up the trail.
Then, to my mother’s surprise, she arrived at the top just around the bend from where they were sitting. The elderly lady was so close and she didn’t even know it. My mom said she looked back down the trail and saw the lady slowly descending. She gave up just short of her destination.
In our lives, we have goals that come and go. We have goals for our jobs, goals for our children, goals for our walk with Christ. Sometimes the path to our goal is short, and sometimes it is long. Sometimes the way is hard. But we must not quit. Our destination may be just around the bend.
And God is gracious. He places benches along the way so that we might rest. These benches may come in the form of trials beyond our control. They force us to rest. God gives us rest so that we might have the strength to continue. But we must not confuse the resting place for defeat. It is only a delay. We must not quit.
When we arrive at the summit, we will discover that a glorious view awaits us. The path we have trod will be seen clearly.
What are you facing today? Does the thing you have cherished so long seem so far away? Have circumstances hindered your progress? Faint not. The destination may be just around the bend.
When we feel we have nothing left to give
And we are sure that the “song has ended”–
When our day seems over and the shadows fall
And the darkness of night has descended,
Where can we go to find the strength
To valiantly keep on trying,
Where can we find the hand that will dry
The tears that the heart is crying–
There’s but one place to go and that is to God
And, dropping all pretense and pride,
We can pour out our problem without restraint
And gain strength with Him at our side–
And together we stand at life’s crossroads
And view what we think is the end,
But God has a much bigger vision
And he tells us it’s only a bend–
For the road goes on and is smoother,
And the “pause in the song” is a “rest,”
And the part that’s unsung and unfinished
Is the sweetest and richest and best–
So rest and relax and grow stronger,
Let go and let God share your load,
Your work is not finished or ended,
You’ve just come to “a bend in the road.”
-Helen Steiner Rice