Daily Post

The Hiker

A few years ago I wrote about a story that I kept in my Daytimer when I was in college. Earlier this week I found another that I carried with me and read quite often. I had forgotten about this story of The Hiker. This is from on the On The Anvil, by Max Lucado.  Enjoy….



In the barren prairie, the hiker huddles down. The cold northerly sleeps over him, stinging his face and numbing his fingers. The whistle of the wind is deafening. The hiker hugs his knees to his chest, yearning for warm.

He doesn’t move. The sky is orange with dirt. His teeth are grainy, his eyes sooty. He thinks of quitting. Going home. Home to the mountains.

“Ahh, the mountains.”  The spirit that moved him in the mountains seems so far away.  For a moment, his mind wanders back to his homeland.  Green country.  Mountain trails. Fresh  water. Hikers hiking on well marked trails. No surprises, few fears, rich companionship.

One day, while on a brisk hike, he had stopped to look out from the mountains across the neighboring desert. He felt strangely pulled to the sweeping barrenness that lay before him.  The next day he paused again. And the next, and the next.  “Shouldn’t someone go there? Shouldn’t someone try to take life to the desert?” Slowly the flicker in his heart became a flame.

Many agreed that someone should go, but no one volunteered.

Uncharted land, fearful storms, loneliness.

But the hiker spurred by the enthusiasm of others, determined to go.  After careful preparation, he set out, alone. With the cheers of his friends behind him, he descended the grassy highlands and entered the desolate wilderness.

The first few days his steps were springy and his eye was keen. He yearned to do his part to bring life to the desert.  Then came the heat.  The scorpions.  The monotony. The snakes. Slowly, the fire diminished and now… the storms.  The endless roar of the wind. The relentless, cursed cold.

“I don’t know how much more I can take.” Weary and beaten, the hiker considers going back.

“At least I got this far.”  Knees tucked under him, head bowed, almost touching the ground. “Will it ever stop?”

Grimly, he laughs at the irony of the situation. “Some hiker. Too tired to go on, yet too ashamed to go home.”  Deep, deep is the struggle. No longer can he hear the voices of friends.  Long gone is the romance of the mission.  No longer does he float on the fancifulness of a dream.

“Maybe someone else should do this,  I’m too young, too inexperienced.”  The winds of discouragement and fear whip at his fire, exhausting what is left of the flame.  But the coals remain, hidden and hot.

The hiker, now almost the storm’s victim, looks one last time at the fire. Is there any greater challenge than that of stirring a spirit while in the clutches of defeat?  Yearning and clawing, the temptation to quit it gradually overcome by the urge to go on.  Blowing on the coals, the hiker once again hears the call of the desert.  Though faint, the call is clear.

With all the strength he can summon, the hiker rises to his feet, bows his head, and takes his first step into the wind.

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