Editor’s note: This Lent season, Bread Blog is running a series of devotionals written by staff, alumni, and friends of the San Francisco Theological Seminary, which is affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A).
By Denise Diaab
Last summer when I walked El Camino de Santiago in northern Spain, Day 29 found me in the mountain region of Galicia. It was wet, cold, and windy when I left La Faba (altitude 950 meters) headed for O’Cebreiro (altitude 1300 meters). I must admit my spirits dampened when I remembered climbing the last mile and a half of thick, slippery, MUCK into La Faba the day before. I just didn’t have the heart to tackle more of the same at 6:50 that morning.
I liked a fellow pilgrim’s idea to walk the paved road, but George had departed by the time I was ready to leave. I set off alone, grateful for directions from a local. However, after walking for about 30 minutes, I realized he didn’t tell me anything about distance or landmarks.
The road I was on went DOWN and I knew that O’Cebreiro was UP! After winding down for a while longer, the road finally began to go up. It was raining and foggy and there were no yellow Camino arrows marking the way. I began to wonder if this was going to be as bad as climbing the Pyrenees on the first day. That’s when I realized that the steepest mountain is the one in front of you right now. An old hymn says, “Each victory will help you some other to win.” So on I climbed.
I was beginning to get discouraged and had second thoughts about my decision to take the car road, when I saw some words painted on the asphalt. Someone had painted: “I believe!” I whispered, “Thank you God, I do believe.” I had needed that sign of encouragement. And just a few feet further up the road was painted another message–less spiritual, but equally as encouraging: “Cafe 1000 Meters.” I was on the right road after all.
We can answer yes to both questions of the prophet in today’s passage – Yes, we have heard, and yes, we know: Our God is everlasting, and our God will strengthen us when we grow faint.
May God give you encouragement and strength to climb every mountain that you face today.
Denise Diaab is a master of divinity student at San Francisco Theological Seminary.