Into the Mountains

 

“I will look to the hills, from whence cometh my help: my help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.” Psalm 121:1,2

 

 I love the mountains.

Which is pretty inconvenient, since I grew up in Nebraska, and currently live in a very flat part of Florida. Don’t get me wrong–I appreciate the beach, and “the voice of the Lord is heard upon many waters” and all that. But the mountains … ahhh. They speak to me. The Lord has been very gracious to me in sending several of my friends to Denver, where mountains live, and also giving me new friends like dear Sally Clarkson, who lives in Colorado Springs where other mountains live, and now even sending my son to Youth With a Mission in Denver,  and giving me opportunities to visit my dear friends as well as the mountains which call my name.

As I drove up into the mountains at Estes Park last weekend, several things struck me about them. Lest I forget, I’m sharing my thoughts with you.

#1. Mountains are huge.

Shocking, isn’t it? Every time I see them, though, I’m surprised. The Rockies will do something very good for your soul: they remind you that you are small. Your problems are small. And God, who made them, must be very, very, very BIG. He says we can *move* mountains! We need a picture in our minds in order to truly understand what that means. It’s part of the reason our children need time in nature. God speaks to us through His creation … “The heavens are telling the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands.” If we haven’t experienced a mountain, how can we understand what an amazing promise that is?

#2. It takes time to get there.

Remember that old Amy Grant song, “Mountaintop”?

I love to sing and I love to pray,
Worship the Lord most every day.
I go to the temple, and I just want to stay
To hide from the hustle of the world and its ways.

And I’d love to live on a mountain top,
Fellowshipping with the Lord.
I’d love to stand on a mountain top,
‘Cause I love to feel my spirit soar …

But I’ve got to come down from the mountain top
To the people in the valley below;
Or they’ll never know
That they can go
To the mountain of the Lord.

Now praising the Father is a good thing to do,
To worship the Trinity in spirit and truth.
But if we worshipped all of the time,
Well, there would be no one to lead the blind.

But I’d love to live on a mountain top,
Just fellowshipping with the Lord.
And I’d love to stand on a mountain top,
‘Cause I love to feel my spirit soar …
But I’ve got to come down
From the mountain top
To the people in the valley below;
Or they’ll never know
That they can go
To the mountain of the Lord.

It’s beautiful in the mountains. And so it is in the seasons of our life that are “mountaintop” seasons; the ones when we’re experiencing God’s presence and hearing His voice, enjoying fellowship with other believers and life seems to be going along merrily. Sunday morning I decided to take a drive up to Estes Park after church. It was about 40-something miles from where I was, so I figured it would take me just under an hour, right?

Yup. That’s what I thought, too. Flat-land-driver that I am.

Over two hours later I finally pulled into Estes Park.

Because the thing is, one doesn’t just arrive in the mountains. Getting up there takes some effort. And time. And money for gas. A map helps, too. Probably each of those things could be a paragraph in itself, but you get the idea.

If you want to be on a mountain with God, you’ll need a map. You’ll need to read about the ways people before you have gotten there. Books by travelers like Bonhoeffer and Teresa of Avila and Augustine and Lewis and Piper and Moore will help. And of course the ultimate guidebook by the One who made them will certainly be necessary.

Don’t expect to arrive there quickly. Mountain roads are funny things; they twist and turn and climb and dip; they usually don’t go directly up.

#3. Even the mountains have valleys.

Should’ve gotten a better illustrative picture of this one, but I was driving.

Sometimes I think we assume that when we finally arrive with God, it will all be “good.” We’ll have a birds-eye view of everything going on; we’ll feel close to Him and always know what’s coming up next. But when I was driving, I noticed that the higher I went, it almost seemed like the less I could see; mountains, after all, are by definition *not* plateaus! There are multiple curves and things we can’t see around. And sometimes the mountains open up into valleys. We needn’t become discouraged when our lives seem to “flatten out,” when we don’t seem to be getting closer to God day by day; sometimes we’re in a valley even amongst the mountains and the Lord wants us to rest. The climb will continue when He knows we’re ready for it.

 

#4. The higher you go, the higher you’ll want to go.

I’d spent a few days in Colorado Springs at the wonderful MomHeart Leadership Intensive before I had time to actually go up into the mountains. Looking at them from afar as we went back and forth from hotel to home day by day enhanced my desire to *be there* in them. And then as I started to drive, every turn brought a new view; some turns made the view clearer while others put me in the middle of cliffs where I couldn’t see anything at all. But every magnificent view drew me on to the next one. As we draw closer to God, we see His beautiful heart; the loveliness of His ways, the depth of His wisdom, His amazing kindness and vast knowledge. And we want to know more. Only the insistent call of a scheduled flight home to my dear family made me turn around and slowly wend my way home.

What will you do today to make your way up into the mountains?

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One Response to Into the Mountains

  1. Ellen Smith says:

    What a great read, inspiring..
    takes me to that place in time and makes me look deeper into myself..
    thanks for that :)

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