by | Sep 8, 2023 | Prophetic | 1 comment

The challenges we may soon face will require a tough faith. The terrain of what is before us will not be navigated by a weak and untested faith. A tough faith is a reliable faith able to ascend and descend unfamiliar and uneven spiritual terrain.

Twenty years ago, a man in our church invited me to hike with him to the summit of Mount McLoughlin in southern Oregon. The mountain is a dormant, steep-sided stratovolcano. Its summit stands at 9,495 feet and dominates the skyline of our valley. On the day of our hike, I donned my running shoes, grabbed a hiking stick, a lunch, and followed my friend. We made it to the summit and enjoyed a commanding view of the entire region.

On the way back down, I realized the error of my choice in footwear. My feet were tired. They were being pushed into the end of the toe box on the descent, and every sharp rock pressed up through the soft soles of my shoes to deliver an uncomfortable impact. A week after the hike, both my big toes turned black and blue. I eventually lost both toenails. I learned this was not uncommon when wearing improper footwear, footwear that works well on flat and even ground, not on the ascent and descent of a rock-strewn mountain almost 2 miles high in elevation.

After my feet healed up, I changed my hiking shoe choice to a brand called Keen like the ones in the attached photo that I wore this week on a hike. They are built like a tank. These shoes won’t win any beauty contests or be seen as acceptable attire for a style-conscious person. A Keen has a deep and wide toe box and a tractor-like tread. The inner soles protect me against the impact of uneven terrain.

What kind of faith will we be wearing when we need to walk through the uneven terrain of a divorce, financial loss, or the death of a loved one? What if social conditions change radically and without warning and we have to walk across the shattered terrain of a fallen nation, or what if a global war breaks out? A flip-flop kind of faith will not work. It will leave us stranded, injured, and immobile and of little use to others.

The toughest and most proven faith is a simple faith. It provides protection and traction only gained when we have reduced our faith to one simple thing – the faithfulness of Jesus Christ. That kind of faith can continue moving no matter what comes our way in this life. If we base our faith on anything else, it will be like a person wearing flip-flops foolishly trying to ascend and descend a tall mountain peak hoping they will be able to complete the journey without injury. 

1 Comment

  1. Howie Nelsin

    Great analogy Garris. My wife and I are hikers converted to Keen shoes as well. Our faith, like the shoe is toughened by the challenges we face on this earth’s terrain. Bless your heart and soul! Pun intended!


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