What you assume going into an experience will greatly color your actual experience of it. For example, the following suggestions were taken from registration sheets and comment cards returned to the staff of Bridger Wilderness Area in Wyoming.
- Trails need to be reconstructed. Please avoid building trails that go uphill.
- Too many bugs and leeches and spiders. Please spray the wilderness to rid the area of these pests.
- Chairlifts need to be in some places so that we can get to wonderful views without having to hike them.
- The coyotes made too much noise last night and kept me awake. Please eradicate these annoying animals.
- A small deer came into camp and stole my jar of pickles. Is there a way I can get reimbursed?
- Reflectors need to be placed on trees every 50 feet so people can hike at night with flashlights.
- Escalators would help on steep uphill sections.
- A McDonald’s would be nice at the trailhead.
- The places where trails do not exist are not well marked.
- Too many rocks on the mountains.
What a revealing window into the human psyche! I’m sorry, but what are people expecting when they go hiking in the wilderness – Starbucks at mile marker 10? (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.) What part of “wild” don’t we understand?
I sometimes get the sense that at times, we Christians would like to offer God a similar list for our walk of faith: Remove all difficulties and setbacks in life. Grant success in every venture. Provide uninterrupted security and comfort. Protect all the people I care about. Help me grow, but only when I’m in the mood, and only in comfortable doses.
Here’s a basic reminder: like the wilderness, the Christian life is an unpredictable and at times formidable venture. It will stretch you beyond your comfort zone, call you to new heights, and lead you through terrain beyond your comfort or skill level. However, Christ also promises to be with you, to provide His strength for the journey, and to put us in relationship with fellow hikers who share the same destination. Will the journey be easy? No! Will it be worthwhile? It will be the adventure of a lifetime!