Mar 29 - far

Hiking in Utah, 2011

The halfway point of hiking a mountain is brutal.

There is the ‘Are you KIDDING me?!?! We aren’t there yet?!?!’ Quickly followed by the defeat of ‘I can’t do this.’ Then followed by ‘Damnit I came here to summit this damn mountain.’

You haven’t realize how far up it is, but there is this inkling of a feeling you have that the view will be worth it. Yet you are only halfway…

You have a choice to make at that point. Continue? Or head back down?

I won’t even go into the false summit words that fall out of a mouth when you’ve pushed through defeat and continued to the ‘summit,’ which is not actually a summit, but just a continuation of the path.

It really sucks that you never realize how far it is up a mountain until you’ve made it halfway. Sure, it looks high…but everyone hikes mountains, it can’t be that hard, right?

Wrong. Then add in an aversion to altitude. Really wrong.

But the view…

Oh, how the view speaks to a soul. Your heart is soaring because you’ve accomplished it. Your spirit is soaking in the quiet of being 12,000 feet above sea level. And the view goes so far in the distance, you lose sight of the ground because of the atmosphere getting in the way. To top it all off, every problem you have is literally the size of an ant. Granted the sun is scorching…not good for a redhead, but there are ways to handle that, if I remember. And to get to the top without injury generally means God has your back, front and all sides. Especially when the path is 2 feet across then a cliff drop off. When God is that active around you…it’s always a good thing.

But there is something that happens to me on top of a mountain that makes me want to stay there forever. Maybe it’s the lack of oxygen getting to my brain. Or maybe I just don’t want to make the effort to go down, even though it’s easier going down than up.

Or maybe I am so free of all distraction, busyness and people wanting something from me that I just relish in the fact it is still…quiet…sweet freedom…

This is not in context at all, but I love this verse in Isaiah:

How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say Zion, ‘Your God reigns!’ [Isaiah 52:7]

Good news. Peace. Good tidings. Salvation.

Our God reigns.

If climbing a mountain can give me the clarity and ability to empty my soul of the clutter, then I wish I could do it more often. Because every day I should be bringing good news to those around me. I should be speaking of peace and living it. I should offer good tidings to all I come across. I should rest in my salvation while proclaiming that God reigns.

On this Good Friday night, I pray that we all know that without Good Friday, Easter does not come. You cannot have resurrection without death. The pain, suffering and tears…all lead to life everlasting.

And I pray that we would all proclaim that God reigns, because that is indeed good news that not only crosses cultures, but languages and emotions.

May we all feel as though the summit of the mountain is far away, yet choose to claim it as our own. May we all feel that our sin makes us far away from God, yet choose to claim Christ. And may we all be people who live in the freedom of claiming Christ’s sacrifice while saying, ‘Our God reigns!’