The picture you saw when you clicked on this blog is of Looking Glass Rock in the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina. By the end of the summer of 2010, I climbed it (well, some of it). I may not have reached the peak, but in the beginning of the summer of 2010, I didn't even like climbing to the top of a bunk bed.
I remember the day very well. I sat in the back of a van with about a dozen other climbers as we made our way up the windy roads along Forest Service Road 475. The creaking of the van’s undercarriage as we faced dangerously steep roads didn’t bother me, because the higher we went in the van, the less I had to hike.
Growing up in Florida, heights weren’t a thing. I never walked uphill in my life. I had struggled with every hike we’d done so far that summer - and this promised to be one of the worst. When we finally reached the trail head, we got out of the van, loaded all of our climbing gear, camping gear, and food onto our backs, and set off to reach the base of Looking Glass Rock.
For the next 3 miles, we made our way through the woods, many times having to use our hands to help us climb over massive rocks that interrupted the path. Often we had to crawl in order to not fall backwards and down to the bottom. After elevating almost 1500ft, the end was in sight. I stayed in the back of the line to make sure no one was left behind. Also, everyone else was moving faster than me, so it worked out. I made sure to stop every few minutes, to… umm… take in the scenery.
When we reached the base of the rock (the grey rock face that you can see in the picture), we took a water break, set up our ropes, and began to prep for the climb. Looking Glass Rock is a monolith, or one massive rock formation that juts out of the land surrounding it. They’re usually rounded towards the top, and this one is no exception. Using a few of the common rock climbing tools, I managed to find the ledges with my feet, slide my hands into the cracks, and get a good bit of the way up the rock face before stopping, taking in the views, and repelling back down.
This entire day was way outside of my comfort zone. I got into climbing that summer thinking it would be rock walls, you know, in rock climbing gyms. Where the ground is made of bouncy foam and children laugh and play and there’s limited danger. If you had told me from the start that by the end of the summer, I’d be expected to climb Looking Glass Rock, I would’ve quit.
I don’t mean that dramatically - I really would have quit. I would’ve had a litany of excuses: I’m not ready. I don’t know how. I’ve never done anything like that before. That isn’t for me.
Most of us want to know what the future holds. It’s one of the main reasons for our doubt, our anxiety, our frustration with God - he asks for our faithfulness but we want to see the future. I wonder if we aren’t kept in the dark about some things because we’d mess it up if we knew what was ahead us. Stop and think: What might you be missing out on because God’s promises require a process but you won’t go along for the ride?