Tom and I visited Sequoia National Park several years ago. We decided to hike a trail through the giant trees. We were encouraged to try a shorter trail requiring little experience. As we headed out we found one that said it would only take 2.5 hours to complete. Since it was already well past lunch, we thought this would be a safe hike for us.
Assumptions are never good.
We discovered the markers on this trail aren’t normal signs saying, “halfway mark”, “almost there” or “1 mile to go!” They were natural markers like a Sequoia tree known as “Fallen Giant”. We saw several fallen trees so we assumed we had missed it. It had already been 3 hours since we started, so we figured we would soon emerge from the dense forest. (Did I mention that we had no cell signal? No one knew which trail we were on. We had no knife or tools, and it was standard daylight time, meaning the sun set close to 6:00pm.)
Imagine our dilemma when we came to the now infamous, “Fallen Giant”. This meant we were only halfway on this loop that was supposed to take only 2.5 hours to complete! We only had a water bottle half full and one apple to sustain us. This would have been fine, IF the hike had been what we expected. But it wasn’t.
I tell this story to emphasize the importance of leaving good trail markers. What seems a good marker to one may be completely missed by another.
In our last post I shared…
We are marking a similar trail of our own; a marriage trail. It is marked by trials and sacrifice, along with a willingness to keep our vows when the feelings wane.
Think of our vows we use as markers along the trail of our hike together through this life. We remember and cling to them when needed:
For better or worse. Remember this when your spouse sins against you. This helps you remember how much you have been forgiven allowing you to forgive too.
For richer or poorer. When you find out your job is downsizing and you live paycheck to paycheck. Knowing your spouse is not going to bail on you brings a comfort that you won’t walk this path alone.
In sickness and in health. When you get a difficult diagnosis completely rocking your world. Cling to the fact that your spouse will be there to support, help and pray for you like no one else.
To love and to cherish. When you grow old together, you still have one another to love and cherish until the Lord calls one of you home.
These markers help us as we set out on this hike for the first time. But it helps to have someone else who knows the way, who can tell you by experience that this trail is right for you.
Each step forward you are proclaiming, “I still do!” And your children and grandchildren can follow your lead without fear. There will be fallen giants of trials and hardship along the way. Take comfort that they will tell the story of God’s faithfulness to you. This brings Him the glory He deserves! Don’t push these markers aside as mistakes. Leave them to proclaim what God has done in spite of the trials. This is your marriage trail marked by one trial after another. Make it one others want to follow.
Yet, you might want to provide more than a half-filled water bottle and apple along the way.