10 More Steps
Author: Justin Hamby
“I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” – Philippians 3:14
Recently, I had the honor of preaching a kid’s camp at the Idaho District Camp Meeting. We had just bought an RV which made it possible for my family to join me on the trip. We saw amazing things in several of our country’s national parks. God’s creation was laid out before us everywhere we looked.
One day, we visited Arches National Park in Moab, Utah. I had always wanted to see the Delicate Arch, so it was definitely on the itinerary. However, I wasn’t aware that there was a pretty significant hike to get to it. It wasn’t an easy hike and we’re not seasoned hikers. We all started out well enough but soon realized we were supposed to climb almost 485 feet within a mile and a half, and a large part of the trail is one big, giant, barren rock. On top of all this, our timing worked out that we would be attempting this hike in July, in the early afternoon, the exact time when it was suggested that no one attempt it. On this journey, It was my wife and I and my 2 oldest daughters, Maci (12) and Bailee (10). So we loaded up the water backpacks, snacks, and headed out.
Now, my wife and I, we like to explore. We’ve been married for 18 years. We push, if not to just outdo each other, so we aren’t giving up. My daughters have their mother’s determination, but this was an absolute test of their resolve. We were about halfway up when the first of my daughters came down with a case of the “I’m done.” Maci, my oldest, my strongest, my star student, the embodiment of my wife’s stubbornness, sat down with tears in her eyes on the hot, barren landscape. We had walked about a mile at this point and still had about a half-mile to go. Personally, I was exhausted. I’m a pretty large guy, and it was so, so hot. Every daddy instinct within me said to get her, pick her up, and carry her back to the RV. Back to the comfortable air conditioning. Back to where her grandma was waiting with cold water, popsicles, and a nap. But that’s not what we signed up for. We could see where we had come from, but our goal was out of sight. What example would I be setting if I taught her that we give up when times are hard?
I looked at her and said “Maci, our goal is just up this hill. It’s not far, but to turn back now is going to take longer than the trip to the arch. It will be worth it.
So, I walked back to her, sat with her for a minute, and despite the pleading and begging, I looked at her and said “Maci, our goal is just up this hill. It’s not far, but to turn back now is going to take longer than the trip to the arch. It will be worth it. What can we do to move forward?” I knew that if we stayed on this barren rock, with no shade, in the hottest part of the day, we were not going to last for much longer. “Can you take just 10 more steps,” I asked? “Ok,” Maci agreed. Then we rested. “Alright, can we take 10 more? How many do you think we can do?” I asked, hoping to ignite that spark that drives her that daddy knows is there. “I think so, daddy, let’s do 10.” she said. Eventually, 10 steps turned into landmarks that were 20 feet away. Then shade spots. Even though it took us 2 hours to get to what was only supposed to take an hour, we did it. We all did it. And on the hike back to the RV, she was smiling the whole way. “That was totally worth it!” She exclaimed. Followed up by my wife of 18 years saying “Don’t ever ask me to go on another hike in the desert with you ever again.” Bailee walked down the mountain singing, so she was good. It was a great time!
When we got back, I was reminded of a message I teach to our kids when talking about the plan of salvation. The disciples were familiar with the presence of God as they had spent so much time with Jesus. But when Jesus ascended, what were they supposed to do? The only instruction they had been given before he ascended was to wait for my promise, which is to come. They had no idea that in just a week the Holy Ghost was about to be poured out. The presence of God that they were so familiar with was going to be inside of them, and they were about to have the greatest revival they had ever seen. They couldn’t see the goal in the distance. But, God had a plan.
So what did they do?
They were caught in a place between their biggest tragedy and their biggest breakthrough. They prayed, seeking God, wanting to experience that familiar presence again. After 7 days, that which was promised happened, and all of that effort was worth it! Lately, with all of the craziness in the world happening, it feels like we’re in a hot, barren, unfamiliar place. The effort to reach our kids feels like an uphill battle we’re constantly climbing, but with no payoff in sight. Children’s evangelists and teachers long for the days of the familiar. As I look to the past, I see things that I know that just didn’t happen this year. I see kid’s camps, vacation bible schools, international mission trips, and so many awesome opportunities for kids to receive the Holy Ghost, all canceled because of something none of us could control. I want to go back to those days.
But, God has a plan. We are in the middle of this seemingly impossible place. It’s uncomfortable, it’s scary. I really want to go back to the familiar. But if I go back now, I will never know the glory that God has prepared ahead for me. There is a revival that’s just around the corner. An incredible breakthrough in your ministry that’s just out of view. But I promise, if you just move forward a little bit, you’ll get there. It might not be what you expected, it may be absolutely exhausting, and the road to get to it is rough. But, the result of that labor is something more beautiful than you can imagine. Not everyone can make this journey, but here you are. All you have to do is just take 10 more steps. Just move forward. We have to get to the place that God needs us. We have to get a place where our kids can trust us to lead them out of these problems. Just take 10 more steps. You can do it.