Some years ago Kathy and I were camping in Switzerland. We both believed it was the “garden spot of the world”—so rugged and beautiful are its mountains, glaciers and green valleys. Late in the afternoon we pulled into a campground in the town of Grindelwald and pitched our tent by a roaring river whose waters came directly off the glacier that nestled between the enormous mountains. We had seen pictures of this place and had heard the stories told by others who had been here. The only problem was that it had been raining all day (as it does regularly in this country) and the clouds hung very low over the valley at nearly tree top level. In spite of all we had anticipated the view was non-existent. There was nothing there to substantiate any of the stories we had heard or the pictures we had seen. So we went to bed disappointed. But the next morning we awoke to brilliant sunshine streaming through the tent flaps. Instinctively we sat up and peered out of the flaps. It took a moment for our minds to cancel out the previous night's memories of the place and adjust to the morning’s staggering vista. There in all their glory were the saw-tooth peaks of the Eiger, the Monch and the Jungfrau. They had also been there the night before but only now could they be experienced.
I have often pondered that experience because it seems to provide an important metaphor for life. A casual traveler through that country who knew nothing about its world-renowned scenery would not have hesitated to keep moving had he encountered the heavy clouds. His goal would have been to find a dry and inviting spot to camp for the night. What brought us to that very spot was our belief that, despite the present situation, the glorious scenery we came to see would eventually show itself to us.
Even so, our faith in Christ often leads us into dark valleys and dismal circumstances. Church work and Christian ministry can often appear dark and unrewarding and we are tempted to quickly move to brighter camping spots. Only our trust that we have not been misled and that we are indeed in the right location at the right time keeps us in place. We know that, when the unwelcome mists eventually lift, we will be rewarded with what we came for—a glorious revelation of God Himself. Hang in there, friends, as we move through another year of service. He who has called us will not send us away empty.
Senior Pastor of Cactus Christian Fellowship