Before living in Salt Lake City I could count on one hand the amount of hikes I had done. I love being outdoors but rather than camping and hiking, I grew up either on the beaches of North and South Carolina or fishing and hunting at my family’s farm. Being someone that loves being challenged by the unfamiliar, I couldn’t wait to move out west. Each of our excursions have been filled with exciting and growing experiences but one of our outings will always stick out in my mind when asked what God’s taught me through our adventures.
Earlier this semester we were lucky enough to have Gobbler’s Knob be the first Utah summit we hiked as a fellows group- a hike filled with stunning views and ending with a peak that’s 10,246 feet above sea level. The first mile started off steep but most of the trail was a gradual hike up until the last mile to the peak. While we typically like to find a pace that works for everyone in the group when we hike, Ben encouraged us to not be afraid to break off and go our own paces for the last part to the top. He suggested we take that time to reflect on our personal journeys with God.
As mentioned earlier, I enjoy a challenge so I started the last section of the hike optimistic and eager to prove myself. That attitude lasted about 1/4th of a mile and then I was reminded of my very obvious weaknesses and need for God’s strength to keep going. The countless times my limits had been tested in the past; memories of experiencing mental, physical, and spiritual exhaustion, were all brought to the forefront of my mind.
The Lord then reminded me of His constant and restoring faithfulness in the midst of all of those memories. Time and time again, when I’m filled with doubt, He’s filled with hope. When I desperately seek an end to the pain that this world often provides, He provides infinity more reassurance that He’ll never leave nor forsake me no matter how grueling the trek.
As soon as I surrendered in that moment and allowed God to fill me with confidence in His strength, I immediately turned on some worship music for the rest of the hike. Cheesy as it sounds, those who know me know I love me some music and firmly believe the Lord can use it to provide healing in more ways than we’ll ever know. While pushing my body harder than ever felt before, I was given the opportunity to get lost in His goodness through worship and the presence of His breathtaking creation.
Reaching the top of Gobbler’s Knob, surrounded by indescribable panoramic views of Utah, was such a fun and incredible experience. However, looking back, I know the summit is not where I was refined and radically drawn closer to my Heavenly Father. Reaching beautiful destinations in life are such a gift that should always be treasured, but I don’t believe those gifts will be what truly fulfill us as people. Walking hand-in-hand with my Savior through life’s journeys, aware of my desperate need for Him and experiencing His constant and loving faithfulness, will forever be the only eternity-lasting source of fulfillment.
And for that I’ll never stop praising.
Salt Lake Fellow
Class of 2016-17