We love the journey Jake and Rachel are taking across the Appalachian Trail and think it provides an excellent metaphor for marriage.
Think about it. We are like two hikers traveling terrain where we have never walked. There are moments which take our breath away, and times when we don’t think we can take another step. There are times when we get off the marked path into thick patches of fallen leaves and wonder which way we should go, and other times when we get bored with the same old scenery. The trail is oftentimes unpredictably different, yet other times the same boring path.
How do we stay committed to the journey when facing so many varied obstacles?
Jake and Rachel planned to make this trip over two years ago, but their path took an unexpected direction when they discovered they were expecting their first baby. It was an exciting detour on their path. But it didn’t last…
When their son was born prematurely and diagnosed with a fatal condition, they knew their time with him would be short, but precious. I can only imagine the pain and heartache they endured during those difficult steps of their journey. But one thing remained sure for them! God was with them leading them through every painful step. He helped them find the hope and comfort they needed to continue moving forward.
It’s like this with all marriages. We find ourselves in situations we never would choose, yet God teaches us things about ourselves and His faithfulness and character that we would not learn in any other way. We find it possible to thank Him for it, a miracle indeed.
I have never hiked a long journey like Jake and Rachel, but Tom and I have been on our marriage journey for over 37 years now. We have faced steep inclines, difficult conversations where we didn’t agree on the next step, as well as smooth and pleasant paths. Looking back it’s all been worth it because of who we’ve become in the process, and more importantly how we see God through all of it.
I don’t think Jake and Rachel will be the same when they take their last step in Maine sometime this Fall. They will have met new people, shared their story with strangers, been encouraged by surprising events and discovered more about each other’s strengths and weaknesses than they knew before the journey began. But most importantly they will learn more about God and His way of leading them through all things like a good Shepherd. They will carry what they learn on this journey with them for the rest of their lives.
How about you? What has God taught you thus far on your marriage journey? Have you taken good notes and maybe even a few pictures to help you remember? Or are you struggling to see God’s hand in the situations you’ve faced.
“God is our refuge and strength [mighty and impenetrable], a very present and well-proved help in trouble.” – Psalm 46:1 (AMP)
Oswald Chambers provides some godly wisdom for us to consider:
We have the idea that God is going to do some exceptional thing–that He is preparing and equipping us for some extraordinary work in the future. But as we grow in His grace we find that God is glorifying Himself here and now, at this very moment. If we have God’s assurance behind us, the most amazing strength becomes ours, and we learn to sing, glorifying Him even in the ordinary days and ways of life.”
We encourage you to support Jake and Rachel on their journey. But don’t make light of what God is doing today in your own marriage. He is committed to making your relationship the best it can be. All we have to do is cooperate with His Spirit and do those things He calls us to do–like taking the next step!