Trail To Freedom
My first backpacking trip was in Glacier National Park. It was four days and about 60 miles. The goal was to hit a summit which was close to 9,000 feet of elevation.
I had packed a bag with everything I would need for those four days, apparently, my life weighed about 40 pounds which didn’t seem like much until I actually put it on my shoulders.
I remember having to sit on the hood of our car, have my friend strap it around my shoulders and waist and then finally stand up. I wobbled from side to side trying to find my center of gravity.
This was going to be a long four days. A couple of miles into the hike I was feeling more confident in my ability to carry my life up a mountain; then pack rash happened.
All the spots where the straps of my pack were touching my skin began to rub. They rubbed and rubbed until my skin was red and irritated.
Great. Just great. But we must go on. So on we went.
I was doing okay again until we hit the real elevation gain. Six miles of switchbacks, about 6,000 feet of elevation. I threw more than a couple of fits along the way.
Considered setting up camp all alone there on the side of the mountain for the next few days. Wondered if maybe a rock would just fall and send me off to heaven. Anything was better than this. But the reminder of bears seemed to do the trick in convincing me to forge on.
Around 2 hours later we hit camp. I had never been so happy in my life.
But, we still weren’t at the summit. It was another 2 miles and 1,500 feet of elevation away. I didn’t think I would make it, until my friend told me to drop my pack. We would make the rest of the trip without the extra weight.
All this weight I had been carrying, it was gone. I felt like Superman the next two miles as I basically sprinted to the summit.
And there it was. We were standing on what felt like the top of the world.
I took a deep breath in and exhaled. I had never felt so free in my entire life. All the weight I had been carrying was gone and now I was left alone with God’s glorious creation, just mountains and blue skies, not a worry in the world.
It’s funny though because God calls us to that kind of freedom every single day, and we don’t have to hike miles on end with our entire lives strapped to our backs to find it.
Every morning we wake up and we have an invitation to take that deep breath, breathe in new mercies, breathe out the worries of the world.
Because we’ve been set free. We are free from worry and anxiety and stress because we can trust that God is in control.
We can drop the heavy packs we’ve been hauling up the mountain because Jesus offered to carry them for us. He took all the sin weighing us down and carried that too. He took the packrash we should be getting, the achy knees from the extra baggage, the weight of the world.
He took it so we wouldn’t have to bare it. So that we could run freely and be who God created us to be. He took it because He knew that if we had to carry it all, we would never make it.
In 1 Peter 5:7 the Bible tells us, “Cast all your anxieties on him because he cares for you.”
In Psalms 55:22 it says, “Cast your cares on the LORD and He will sustain you, He will never let the righteous be shaken.”
Galatians 5:1 says, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”
Christ didn’t set us free so we could keep trying to haul around a 40-pound backpack with all of our burdens and sin and shame. Instead, He wants us to drop the pack, the shame, the sin, the guilt, and run to Him.
That kind of freedom means we don’t have to worry about the things we need because we know God’s got our lives in His hands, and we know He will provide, He won’t forget anything, He’s strong enough to carry everything we need and more.
It means we can trust that when we are weak and wobbly and struggling to stand up straight, he is strong.
If someone would have offered to carry my 40-pound life 60 miles through the woods to the top of the mountain, I would have more than gladly accepted their kind offer and handed over the thing that was weighing me down the most. Jesus has done that for us.
He’s offered to take all of our burdens and everything holding us back and bare it for us. When he died for our sins he gave us the gift of life and freedom, the wonderful offer to lay down our packs and walk with Him.