“It’s more difficult than it seems!”

“It’s more difficult than it seems!” is the trail marker located at the beginning of the South Kaibob Trail in the Grand Canyon.

In September, my husband Jack and I will be hiking this Grand Canyon trail to celebrate our 40th anniversary and staying at the Phantom Ranch located at the bottom of the canyon. To get there we must hike the 7+ mile trail.  But the more difficult journey is hiking out of the canyon two days later.  There’s only one way out—the grueling hike to the top—back to the “It’s more difficult than it seems!” marker!

This same trail marker can apply to life!

Our hiking adventure and the sign bring to mind the difficult journey so many of us face in life. Because of this, Jack and I have decided to dedicate the hike back up the canyon to W.O.W. Ministry and in honor of the Bornstein family in memory of the tragic death of their 21-year son Tyler in September 2014.

Life certainly is more difficult that it seems! During this challenging year of training I’ve learned many lessons that apply to life “trail markers.”  These markers will challenge and encourage you in your own personal journey. My hope is that the Bible passages will spur deeper study.

One thing we can be certain of — the grandeur and beauty of the Grand Canyon will not be lost in the grueling difficulty and pain of the hike. His purposes prevail. To God be the glory!


“Trials are adverse circumstances either because God brought it or allowed it to develop you spiritually. There are no purposeless trials for the believer. The goal of all trials is to move you to spiritual maturity. Maturity is the process of having the life of Christ formed in you.” —Dr. Tony Evans

1.  The Purpose – Our Calling   1 Peter 1:3

Christ followers have a Divine calling! Life is difficult, but not without purpose.

  • Testing of our faith.  James 1:12; 1 Peter 4:13

  • Develop a more dependent and intimate relationship with Christ. Rom. 1:17; Heb. 10:35-39

  • God will be glorified.  Col. 3:22-23

2.  THE Plan – We are chosen!  John 15:16-17

God is Sovereign! Life doesn’t always turn out as planned. Prov. 16:9

  • Jesus calls us to follow Him. Matt. 9:8; 16:24

  • A.D.J.U.S.T. to God’s plans—

    • Always Desire Jesus Ultimate Sovereign Timing!

3.    THE Pain – Training in perseverance and obedience! Hebrews 5:7-9; 2 Cor. 4:16-18

Commitment is necessary to train physically, emotionally and spiritually NOW, not later.

  • One step at a time, perservering through the pain. James 1:2-4; Ps. 119:105

  • He goes before us…so walk, rest, and enjoy the view!  Is. 45:2

4.  The Perspective – It’s more difficult than it seems!  Psalms 119:25

     Acknowledge personal limitations and inadequacies. Rom. 12:3; 7:19-25

  • Extend grace to yourself. 2 Corinthians 12:9

  • Stay true to the map—the Word of God! Don’t veer off course! Ps. 119:1; Ps. 119:25

5.  THE Path – The path is narrow!  Philippians 2:4-7

Expect switchbacks! (The Grand Canyon is 1 mile deep from top to bottom, but the switchbacks along the trail makes it an 8-10 mile hike! People have died taking the wrong path!)

  • Trials in life put us at crossroads—which path to hike? Jeremiah 6:16

  • The path of bitterness, resentment, anger; loss of joy and hope? Prov. 13:12

  • Choose the path of humility.  Phil. 2:5-9

6.    THE Provision – Water and rest!  John 4:10

Water and rest are life-sustaining necessities. REST and hydrate, hydrate, hydrate OR suffer, weaken, become delirious—or worse!

  • Be still and know that I am God. Ps. 46:10  “stop your fighting” (HCSB)

  • Love yourself. Is. 40:30-31; Mark 12:30-31

  • Meditate on God’s Word. Ps. 143:6

  • The Holy Spirit will help us and be with us forever. John 14:15-18

7.    THE Pitfalls – Heat, snakes and scorpions!  ! Peter 5:8

Life can be a dangerous walk—trials can weaken and weary us.

  • Be alert! The enemy prowls looking for someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8

  • Heat or rattlesnakes are actions/criticism of loved ones or others against us. James 3:1-6

  • Scorpions come out at night. Shake out shoes in the morning! Job 7:12-14; Eph. 6:12

  • Be careful of the rocky terrain—selfishness can make us stumble! Gal. 6:9

  • Respond to Holy Spirit instead of react in fear! Prov. 19:11; 2 Pet. 1:3, 8-10

8.    The POWER AND Prayer – All the way down and back up! Phil. 3:8-9

We NEED the respite and shelter of the quiet waters along the path. Ps. 23

  • BE real! “It’s more difficult than it seems!” Scared? Angry? Frustrated? Weak? Hopeful?

  • Be found in Him. Phil. 3:19

  • When we pass through the waters He will be with us. Is. 43:2

  • Surround ourselves with faithful friends who pray for us! James 5:16

9.    THE Promise – A prepared place for us! John 14:2-3

Heaven is our reality…it’s not a Phantom Ranch! Heb. 11:1,13

  • Learn the secret of being content. Phil. 4:12

  • Seek joy in the journey. James 1:1

  • Keep our eyes on Jesus. Heb. 12:2

10.  Our Praise – Wonder of wonders! Isaiah 49;13

The Grand Canyon—from the first glimpse—to the hike to the bottom—then back to the top! The only way out is up!

  • The wonder of who He is and what He has created for our amazing journey! Job 38 & 39

  • Worship Him and participate in what He has created! 1 Chron. 16:23-27

  • We are His chosen vessel for “such a time as this!”  Ester 4:14         

We learn endurance through the “It’s more difficult than it seems” journey of life so I’ll end with a challenge and a verse…

Jack and I invite you to join us in this exciting adventure by prayerfully considering a donation to the W.O.W Ministry, (indicate Grand Canyon on your check) and by praying for the Travis and Shelly Bornstein family.

“Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of His glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.”

Jude 1:24-25