Faith and Mountains

I am fortunate to live in a state with many majestic mountains. On a clear day I can drive about 1/2 a mile and see the Olympic Mountain range, the Cascade Mountain range and Mount Rainier! If I drive in a different direction I can see beautiful Mount Baker. Most of these mountains are high enough to have snow all year around and they are part of our water source for our island.

Physical mountains are inspiring, especially when viewed from a distance. There is a different kind of beauty when seen up close. We took a trip one August to Mount Rainier (14,000 feet) and the views were spectacular. The Bible is full of Mountain stories. God seems to like mountains! He asks many of His servants to become mountain climbers. Abraham and Isaac climbed Mt. Moriah at the word of the Lord. Moses met with Him on Mount Sinai, the ark landed on Mt Ararat with Noah and his family: so my question today is are you willing to become a mountain climber?

I have no natural inclination to climb mountains. One of my most vivid memories of time spent at a Christian summer camp was climbing a lower portion of Mt. Baker on a very hot summers day. All we could see were the seemingly endless switch backs ahead of us. A switchback is a zigzag road or trail that helps you climb a very steep hill. There was no shade and I just wanted to quit. We definitely were not happy campers–that is until we finally made it to our destination. There ahead of us was the most inviting lake–just waiting for us to jump in and cool off. Our leader knew what was ahead. She kept encouraging us to keep going. It tested our limit (or at least mine!). I was a mumbler and grumbler that day for sure. I did not enjoy any part of the journey. I missed any wildlife, or wildflowers we might have seen because of my anger. I was mad at our leader, I was mad at my companion climbers and I was miserable. It definitely was not a proud Martha moment. I had a choice that day, and I definitely picked the wrong attitude, which was my loss. I know I clouded the day for the others too.

Many times as we face our mountains, we just want to speak to it and have it be removed. Be gone in Jesus Name. But what if the Lord is not asking you to speak to that mountain, but to climb it? He has His reasons for both. In reality, neither are easy. Speaking to your mountain requires faith and fortitude until the mountain moves. Climbing the mountain requires faith and fortitude as well.

But the mountain of widowhood, is my mountain to climb. I can’t speak it away. It is my opportunity to journey with Him. Welcoming the views, enjoying His presence and learning His lessons are mine to embrace or reject. I could sit at the feet of this mountain in protest–I don’t want to climb, or I can trust His guidance. The fellowship of walking a path not of your own choosing (illness, divorce, financial struggles, or grief etc.) leads us to opportunities we would never go on our own. But the choice of how we walk the journey is ours. The journey is not always comfortable. It is not always easy. In fact, it usually isn’t. Philippians 3:10 I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death. Neither option is easy–the speaking to nor the climbing, but both, when done in faith yield good fruits.

Father, I pray that you will help us discern how to approach our mountains. That we would appreciate and embrace the opportunity to see you move the mountains you ask us to speak to, or put on our climbing gear and conquer its heights. Either one, we need you and your presence. Thank you Father, for your grace for us. For every mountain climber, I ask you to give them patience, strength and mercy. I thank you for every lesson we will learn from you as we climb our mountain with You, In Jesus Name, Amen.

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