When hiking the trail crews will have created a switchback system that allows gradual increases/decreases in the elevation as the hiker continues his or her ascent/descent. This system makes it easier for the hiker and the environment. The hiker isn’t winded as quickly and the mountain is better protected from erosion.
One of the things about switchbacks is that while the hikers are making their way up the mountain the switchbacks seem to cover the same territory, just a few feet above the trail they were just on moments ago. The view may be a bit different, but in many ways, it seems the same. Switchbacks are great for hiking. They can be frustrating during a Faith journey.
During this season of my journey I have felt like I am repeating the same routes again and again. I recognize slight changes in the terrain, but overall it seems like my view doesn’t change. I find myself chafing and struggling with where I am since it isn’t where I want to be.
I felt the same way when I was hiking. Twenty years ago my brother and I hiked Baldy Mountain, one of the highest peaks in New Mexico. My brother and I took the front route from Baldy Town over the “saddle” to the peak. It was a more picturesque view once we reached the peak and I was excited for my brother to see it.
I was also impatient. I wanted to get there. I didn’t care about the other views we could see, I wanted to see it all from the top. So I rushed. And I quickly ran out of breath. Trying to climb the whole thing all at once was too much, but if I stayed on the course and took it one step at a time as the trail crews had planned it, then I was not winded and I could arrive with energy left over.
So too is it with our Faith journey. The Ultimate Trail Designer knew ahead of time that we would grow weary on our journey– even quitting if we grew too tired, so He created the switchback. It allows for slower transitions on the journey, an opportunity to see things from a higher elevation, but not so high or so quickly as to overwhelm us.
I must choose to appreciate the view from the place I am on the trail. I will eventually reach my destination and the whole journey will have been worth every step.