A View from the Trail, #1
Why does God speak from mountain tops? Surely He speaks from the valleys and plains, as well, but He seems to have a special affinity for mountains. The question is, why?
I'll attempt to answer that in a bit, but first I'll jog your memory a bit. He called Moses and later, a nation, from Mt. Sinai. He spoke to Israel by the priests from the Mountains of Ebal and Gerazim. He spoke to Elijah on Mt. Carmel. Jesus took His disciples on the Mount of Transfiguration to reveal His glory and mission. And let's not forget the unforgettable "Sermon on the Mount" preached by Jesus. You might not know this, but Jerusalem, like Rome, is built on seven Judean mountains, the tallest of which is Mt. Zion. When you take a bus from Tel Aviv into Jerusalem that bus always struggles to get over the last mountain and into Jerusalem (but what a lovely sight).
I have had the pleasure of hiking a few mountains. One thing every peak grabber discovers is that hiking up a mountain is hard! Perhaps the hardest hike I ever experienced was going up Bear Canyon in the Guadalupe Mountains. My son and I spent three days in that West Texas desert. You have to carry a gallon of water per day. . . or die. There are no dependable wells or streams. You can't even cache water in those mountains because there are no roads. As Rovers you know water weighs eight pounds per gallon. For three days that's 24 pounds of water, 48 for the two of us - plus the rest of our gear. All of it was on our backs while we hiked straight up Bear Canyon. Yes, it was hard. My 25 year old son was worried about his dad and kept asking me if I wanted to turn back. I told him "I haven't come all the way across Texas to NOT climb this mountain." We rested often, but we made it.
Yes, climbing a mountain can be hard. Sometimes it's hard because of weight, but it can also be due to weather, or because we thought we were approaching the top only to discover that the top is still a long way off. Fatigue is factor. And blisters.
The faith lesson here is that sometimes life is hard. Sometimes its hard because of your heavy load or dashed hopes. Fatigue sets in. During those times you may think that because you are flailing, you are failing.. Don't listen to that nonsense. That's just the fatigue talking. If God sent you to the mountain He does not see your flailing as failing. .
So let's dig deeper -- the greatest commandment is to "love the LORD your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength." Have you ever considered that the reason God calls you on difficult journeys is to give you an opportunity to serve and love Him with your strength? So if you are struggling it doesn't necessarily mean you are doing poorly. It might just mean that you are giving it your all, loving God with your strength. Faithfully persevering. And He is applauding you all the way.
Happy Trails to you!
Senior Rover Chaplain, Kirby Hill
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