Attaining the Summit
THE GROS MORNE CHALLENGE, Part 2
We didn’t know it was an 18.3-kilometer trail; nor had we
heard that it was a climb recommended for expert hikers. The
only thing we had been told was to allow a minimum of six
and a half hours to complete the trek, and since we only had
about six hours of daylight left, it would be tight! But the
view from the summit of this 806-metre mountain, the tallest
in Atlantic Canada, was said to be spectacular, and since
this would probably be our only trip to Newfoundland, home
of Gros Morne Mountain, it was now or never.
We struck up a killer pace to beat the clock. We pushed
ourselves so hard that after just three kilometers of
climbing, half of our party was dragging. At the four-kilometer
mark, we came to a fork in the trail. Here an interpretive
sign informed us that our previous path was a
Sunday-afternoon walk compared to what lie ahead! Duly
“encouraged”, my husband voiced the obvious: it would be
impossible for all of us, especially the ones where were
already dragging, to finish the climb before dark.
Though there was wisdom in his words, I was as determined as
ever to ignore the warning and go on. After all, we could
see the summit from where we stood, and though the trail at
this point became a steep climb up a ravine full of loose
rock, I figured it wasn’t anything I couldn’t handle. As
long as the end was in sight, how could I go wrong? Besides,
Donovan, my 11 year-old, also had his mind set on completing
the climb. How could I disappoint him?
A few moments of discussion followed, then it was decided:
My husband and younger son would sacrifice their climb so
that Donovan and I would have a better chance of attaining
the summit; and as we started up the ravine, they went set
out to explore the base of the mountain.
After a few moments of huffing and puffing, Donovan and I
crawled (literally!) onto the top of the rise . . . Only to
find . . . Another path just as long, over just as loose of
rock, and even steeper than before, to a ridge high above!
But since we were sure that this HAD to be the summit, we
took a moment to sip what remained of our water and catch
our breath, then by encouraging each other that we were
“almost to the top”, we made it up the next ridge . . . only
to find . . . You guessed it! Another steep climb, even
longer and more strenuous than the two we had already
The pattern was set. As each steep, rocky climb came into
view, we told ourselves that surely THIS would be the
summit, and we continued on. It DID cross our minds a couple
of times that perhaps this mountain really DID go on
forever, that we really never WOULD reach our goal. But just
contemplating this thought made us want to give up, and
since we really COULDN’T go back down that loose rock, we
told ourselves that no mountain can continue forever in the
upward direction; the top HAD to be there, and we could
trust our legs that had already brought us this far to carry
Isn’t life often like this climb? You encounter trouble, but
you think you can see the end of it—Sure your mom is in the
hospital. But she will be getting out! You can handle it!
You trudge onward, only to get to the top of the ridge and
find that beyond is a path far more strenuous than the one
you’ve already trod!—Your upcoming separation is now
complicated by the loss of your job. But there will be a new
job. This too, will pass!
And you keep pressing onward . . . 0nly to discover when you
attain the next ridge that there is yet another steep path
to be conquered—After a strenuous bout of surgery, coupled
with radiation and chemotherapy, the thyroid cancer was said
to be in complete remission. Now you learn that it has
reappeared, this time in three other parts of your body!
What do you do? Do you get discouraged at the sight of the
next trial? Do you give up the fight? Do you focus on the
rockiness of the path? The steepness of the road? Or do you
look for outside help? Remember, Jesus is always there to
pull you through to the top. No matter how strenuous the
trail or how much further you have to climb, He has promised
to NEVER allow you to be tested beyond what you and He
TOGETHER can handle! (see 1 Cor. 10:13)
Oh—After 50 minutes of arduous climbing, Donovan and I
finally attained the summit of Gros Morne Mountain. The view
WAS breathtaking, and this, coupled by a great sense of
accomplishment, made every step of the climb well worth the
And just as OUR summit was really there, yours is too.
Whatever seemingly unending circumstances and trials you
face, they will NOT go on forever. You WILL get to the end.
In the meantime, just as we could trust our legs to carry us
to the top, Jesus is right with you, ready to carry you up
the next ridge—and the next, and the next. All you have to
do is let Him. Don’t focus on the circumstances, friend.
Instead, focus on Jesus. And remember, when you DO attain
the summit, whatever you find will be, in the long run, WELL
WORTH the climb!
“Keeping your eyes fixed upon Jesus, the author and the
finisher of your faith, who for the JOY set before Him,
ENDURED the cross, and is now seated AT THE RIGHT HAND OF
GOD.” (Heb. 12:3)
In His love,