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June '19

"For you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness." – James 1:3

Reflection:

My father often spoke of the importance of starting strong. . . and of finishing well.

Recently, I had the opportunity to remember those words while on vacation near Slade, Kentucky with Dave and our twins, Janie and Jonathan. We had embarked on a hike to the top of a so-called moderate trail leading to a massive natural sandstone arch poised like the ancient landmark it was, towering over the mountainous terrain below.

Complete with numerous steep steps—woody, rocky and root-laden (Janie dubbed the latter “ground veins”)—we slowly made our way, step over precarious step, toward the top. We stopped for frequent sips from bottled water and enjoyed snacks that Dave carried in his backpack, catching our breath, thankful this hike wasn’t happening in Colorado, a mile higher in altitude. Despite that, the climb was arduous in places, and I wondered aloud if our twins would ever want to take on my bucket list in the future.

But we kept going, though it crossed our minds how much easier it would be to simply turn around and head back down.

Then, at last, rounding an enormous boulder-strewn area, we caught the first breathtaking glimpse. There, the Natural Bridge loomed high over us. . . our reward for perseverance!

I wished in that moment that my dad could have seen the four of us inching upward to our final goal, perspiring and weary of the climb. And I tried to imagine, too, that glorious Day when our heavenly Father will welcome each of us across the finish line, life’s journey over. Home at last, following His lead all the way.

As we pause this month to honor our fathers, I'm thankful for a dad who wholly trusted God, and though the path toward the end was rocky at times, strewn with disappointment, sadness and pain, my father finished strong in faith on January 9, 2014.

Blessings abundant, dear reader-friends.

And happy Father's Day to all the dads!

Beverly Lewis