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My husband and I once visited Glacier National Park in Montana — an absolutely breathtaking place. We spent a good part of one day hiking 3.5 miles up a mountain to a gorgeous lake with a backdrop of mountains and three or four majestic waterfalls.

On our way up, we grew tired, and we began to wonder if we would ever reach our destination. We had no way of estimating how far we had come or how much farther we had to go. But as we climbed, we met people going down who had been to the lake. They would tell us about how much longer we had to hike.

At first, we didn’t like hearing how much farther we had to go — even when they told us we had made it halfway. Still, we enjoyed their reports because everyone said the destination was definitely worth the effort required to get there. We believed them and kept going. Eventually, we began to hear such encouraging words as “You’re almost there. Don’t give up. You’ll be glad you made the trip.”

And we were. The view was simply beyond words. When we finally left and headed down the mountain, we began meeting others still on their way up. This time, we were the ones who had seen the destination and could offer words of encouragement. So we did.

Many of life’s rewards are like that mountain lake — we have to do a lot of climbing before we reach them. A good marriage, a college education or a fulfilling career all take work. So do a powerful prayer life, a strong Christian character and a rewarding Bible study. As we set these goals for ourselves, we should look for people who will encourage us, who will tell us the journey may be tough but the destination is well worth the effort. Then, once we reach our goals, we should become the encouragers for those following behind us.

“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11

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