Somehow the scene just popped out at me! How appropriate–the beauty of mountains sticking up out of the foggy valleys! What a glorious time God must have had as He painted this picture so early in the morning for me, the only person around! Climbing up onto one of the guardrail posts, in high heels, I did a balancing act while taking this picture of a scene that took away my breath. How amazing, and what a spiritual truth lay in the beauty!
Raised in the “hills” of West Virginia (America’s “Little Switzerland,”), mountains have been my love for all of my decades. It was sheer agony for me as our family drove our now-vintage vehicles, loaded with a week’s worth of necessities, to spend a week on the beaches of North Carolina. The heat, the sand spurs, the sand, the tides–none appealed to me and I longed to return home to my beloved mountains. Later, as a move to Florida came about, I thought my life had ended: as you top the small ridge on the Interstate and enter Florida, your vision feels as though it is going for miles and miles in a straight, flat line. Once, when my youngest son was about four, we were driving. As we went over a speed bump on a street, he looked back: “Was that a hill, Mom?” he asked.
Later, moving to Central Virginia, I would awaken to the gorgeous beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains, drinking in the cool air, the wonder of the loveliness, and the grandeur of the height and depth of the terrain. I have never gotten enough of the view, no matter how often I awake to it.
Now, mountains and valleys have become my daily expectation. Oh, not the gorgeous Blue Ridge Mountains, but the ones that come with regularity into my life: those people who are seem to delight in making our lives miserable, whether in the workplace or a social setting; the load of work that has to be completed by a certain date (have you ever noticed that we refer to the files on the desk as a “mountain” of work? Or, a “mountain” of laundry?); the deadlines set by someone who expects actions to be accomplished yesterday, and on and on. Then the valleys: our spirit gets low, Satan steals our joy, unexpected bills are due, we find one of the children is being bullied, someone we love has a terminal illness, and again–on and on. Sometimes, as in the picture, the fog is so heavy in the valley that we can’t see our way. Do you call on the Shepherd at that point, or has He been walking beside you all along?
Last year, after reading my Bible through for the umpteenth time, as I came to the verse in Matthew, “If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, move from here to there, and nothing shall be impossible to you,” (Chapter 17:20 NAS) suddenly I was struck by the word ‘mountain.’ Now probably you, if you’re theologically taught, have already realized that was speaking metaphorically, but for me–well, I had always thought there would have to be a mighty good reason for the mountain to move, and I had never had that practical motivation, although I felt my faith was solid. Suddenly, I saw the metaphor, and realized that I could have enough faith to move a mountain of heavy burdens, a mountain of tasks, a mountain of responsibilities…and so much more. Why had I thought it had to be a physical mountain? Because I’m a black and white person, I guess. I have to really work on seeing gray areas. God opened my eyes, and the word popped out! Don’t you love it when that happens?
So today, you can move a mountain! Not perhaps all at one time, but you can start with the first wheelbarrow full of dirt. Does your spouse or family member have a mountain of bitterness against you? Then start moving it! Do you have a mountain of work at the house that it seems it will never get done? Then start with one square of 4×4 ft. space. Tomorrow do another square! By the way, leave one mountain in place, so you can go to the top occasionally for a real “mountaintop” experience! And while you’re there, remember how many valleys God has brought you through. Even though Christ was talking in Matthew 25 in a parable about servants and faithfulness, it is easy to apply it to Christ Himself: if He has been faithful in your life to bring you through the many small things, will He not also bring you through the big things, the mountains, if you will? Of course He will! Your faith only has to be the size of a grain of mustard seed!
God, You are so tremendous! What a glorious world You have given us to enjoy, with the beauty never-ending! Yet we know this world is going to wear out like a garment, but we don’t have to fear: You have gone to prepare us a place that is beyond our imagination. Meanwhile on this earth, Lord, as we sojourn here, let us be good and faithful servants, even unto death. Thank You for Your nail-scarred hands, and all that they mean to us! We love You, Lord! Amen