I wrote this story a few months ago after facing some discouragement where I felt like a life of faith and sacrifice and following the narrow path would only ever be hard, long and difficult. After speaking to a mentor about this discouragement, a Word from God came to me, where He told me to look out and enjoy the view, because it only keeps getting better every step up the mountain. I hope this story captures that word. A life up the mountain not only is worth it at the top, but worth it each step of the way.
Up the Mountain
There once was a man who lived in a great big kingdom. The king over this kingdom had put out an appeal for the most worthy in the land to try to conquer the tallest, most treacherous mountain out there. The man accepted, hoping to finally be the one to make it to the top. Many had set out to accomplish the task before him, but many had failed, some not even coming back at all. One thing was for sure, no one made it up the mountain to come back to tell about it.
So the man set out on this journey, ready to accomplish what had never been accomplished before. He knew it was going to be a treacherous journey but was ready to make the climb.
At first, the pace was reasonable, the incline not so intense. The trail was wide and easy to find, with room for lots of people. But as he went up the mountain, it grew narrower, and steeper, and harder to find.
The man eventually came across other camps of people. People, who he realized, never made it to the top.
The first camp he encountered was where people stopped by a river that had endless gold flowing from it. They were allured to stay and collect more and more gold each day—forgetting that they actually had no use for it and that there was a bigger task they had originally set out for.
As he continued to climb, he came across the next camp, which was centered around a giant fruit tree. The tree had the sweetest of all fruits, the sweetest you could ever imagine. But people got stuck eating and eating and eating the fruits, somehow never fully finding fulfillment yet always seeking that taste again and again—losing any motivation to continue climbing up the mountain.
But the man continued climbing and as he climbed, he came across another camp, the biggest of them all so far. This camp was filled with people, people who were competing against each other, competing for greatness, to win and to be the best. But they all had become so focused on beating each other, they never made it another step up the mountain.
The man continued on, refusing to be enticed to stop at any of these camps. But he grew weary, knowing that the top was a far way away and that he had so much a longer to go. It felt as if he hadn’t made any progress last all. And as he turned the corner, he saw the next strip of the way to the top, which looked impossibly long. He looked at the rocks and pits and steep incline and thought he could never make it.
His feet hurt and his legs were weary from travel. He had been climbing for what felt like a lifetime. He fell down in exhaustion and cried—he was ready to give up.
As he lay in the dirt, he noticed something next to him. He saw a shaped stone that looked engraved, but it was covered by years of dust and dirt. He dusted it off and saw the seal of the king on the stone and the words: Well done my faithful climber. Come, pause, take a break and feel my enjoyment of how far you’ve come in this moment. The words felt as if they were written to him.
So he stopped and looked out. And as he looked, he saw that, in fact, the same stones lay behind him all along the path. He hadn’t seen them at first! Each stone had something different written on it, but all were stamped with the king’s seal. A long time ago, the king must have laid out these stones to encourage his climbers each step of the way. The man felt as if the king was speaking of his approval that the man was making it every step of the way. The king wasn’t just proud of the climbers who made it to the top of the mountain, the king was proud each step of way that his climbers made it to.
So the man kept going, now picking up the stone each time he saw one to see what message was written on it, each one seeming as if it was written specifically to him. And as the man stopped each time, he began to start looking out and looking around him as he paused. He began to admire the view more and more each time, realizing how better and clearer it got the higher he went. So the man kept going, for what seemed like a lifetime.
And eventually, he finally made it to the top.
And on the top of that mountain was another camp, but not like the others before. It was a camp filled with people who had made it to the top before him, each one of them laughing and celebrating and talking amidst each other about their own journeys up the mountain the joy they had found in it. They came up to the man and embraced him, congratulating him on his accomplishment.
And so the man stood there, looking out, feeling a pride and joy in that moment. But more than anything, he sense the fulfillment in having made the journey up the mountain, not actually having just reached the top. He realized that he felt more accomplished having made the journey and receiving the encouragement from the king each step of the way. There really was nothing he could replace that feeling of having received a lifetime’s worth of approval from the king on his journey up the mountain.