It was a phenomenal demonstration of physical and mental strength achieved by only a handful of humans. But there were no camera crews waiting. No crowds cheered when Brad walked those last few steps to complete his three-month, 2100 mile journey on the Appalachian Trail. Few people will ever know of Brad’s struggles - brutal cold, sweltering heat, pain, and loneliness. Hardly anyone noticed. Almost nobody will care.
But, Brad’s dad knows. He drove from Maryland to Amicalola Falls in Georgia to pick Brad up and celebrate with him. Brad’s father had been watching anxiously all through the trip, ready to rush to aid if necessary. Most importantly, Brad’s dad stood ready to come take his son home when the journey was over.
Life is much like Brad’s hike. Few notice the multitudes of ordinary people who, one slow step at a time, make the long, arduous journey toward the final summit. There are no headlines for parents who change the diapers, read the bed-time stories, and send kids off to school every day well-fed and neatly dressed. Camera crews don’t surround the quiet lives of those who, for 45 years, show up on time at work every day to keep the country producing and prospering. Talk shows don’t feature the ones who stay out of trouble, who mind their own business, who live as good neighbors, who go to church, say their prayers and treat others kindly.
Those people don’t get much attention. You need to know, however, especially if you are one of them, that the Father is watching. Like Brad’s dad, your Father is tracking your slow, steady progress. He’s anxiously waiting in the wings to assist if needed. And, most of all, he’s waiting to celebrate with you when the journey is done.
In a celebrity-saturated society, it’s refreshing to remember that God calls us not to be great, just faithful. Jesus celebrated the routine, everyday good things. It was not to gold medalists or world rulers that he said, “Come . . . take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world” (Matthew 25:34). No, those words are reserved for people who simply gave water to the thirsty, food to the hungry, and care to others in need.
The trail is sometimes long and often steep. Keep walking. Your Father waits at the other end to take you home forever.