Tuesday, October 21, 2014
Born to climb
But a few years ago, I bought a CD that has what I consider a great song, and if you like Southern Gospel music, you may like it also. If you don't like Southern Gospel, than obviously you have no taste, so don't bother listening to it. (I'm kidding. Kind of) The words are:
Right now you feel like you'd rather be anywhere else
Than here where you are
Cause life has a way of arranging your plans
And the journey you're on is so hard
Oh the mountain is high
And the road up the side is much steeper than you thought it'd be
You're out of breath and scared half to death
You won't have the faith to believe
But grace, sweet grace has strengthened you time after time
So don't be afraid of the mountain
Cause friend, you were born to climb
God has not given a spirit of fear
Or a burden that you cannot bear
And just at the moment you feel hope is fading
Behold the Lord standing right there
You have been called to be more
Than you were before
Just set your sights
On Heavenly heights
And trust in the Lord
My mind works in weird ways. I admit that. But several times I have listened to this song, I have had the same thought come to my mind: What if God wants us to climb some of the mountains we pray for Him to remove? What if that is why some of our mountains are not removed? While we are wondering if He is not answering, or if we might not have enough faith, could it be that He wants us to suit up with mountain climbing gear and start climbing? After all, a mustard seed is awfully small, so how hard can it be to muster up that much faith?
And while my mind is working in weird ways, here is another thought I have had: In addition to talking a lot about moving mountains, we also talk a lot about being on the mountain top. But would there be any mountains to be on top of if God removed every mountain we asked Him to move? And how do we get on the mountain top anyway? Most people who get to the mountain top worked to get there.... they climbed.
If God removed every mountain, if He got every hardship out of our way, we'd never grow. Sure, our faith might be strong, and that is important, but we'd be weak Christians. If He did let a hardship come our way, if He didn't move a mountain after removing all the others, we'd cave and fall flat on our face.
As much as we dislike trials, as discouraging as it can be to stand with what seems insurmountable mountains around you - and it seems I live there - those things make us stronger.
I've never been around mountain climbers, but I know enough about it and have seen pictures of people doing it to know a few things about it: 1) they have to be in good shape. Mountain climbing isn't for wimps. And 2) They have to train. The more they do it, the better they are at it, and the more conditioned they are to climb. And 3) They start small. They don't just one day start to climb the most dangerous and steep mountain. They start on a smaller scale. They may even start on a fake wall that is used to practice climbing,
We are often wimps as Christians. Especially we Americans, We have it so easy, that we consider it a trial when we have to wait in line anywhere. We have small trials that send us crying to God, but they may be things to sharpen us, to make us stronger for the big trials and mountains that are out ahead that we can't see.
Maybe as the song says, we are born to climb, I don't believe that means it will be easy. Climbing mountains rarely is, but when gets to the top, it is exhilarating. No wonder people plant flags after they have worked so hard to get to the top.
And maybe that's what we need to do in our Christian lives. When we conquer a mountain and are sitting at the top, plant a flag. Then later when we face what seems to be an impossible mountain, we can look back and remember God helped us to get to the top of that mountain.
We should never quit asking God to move mountains for us, and we should practice the faith to move them, but along with that prayer, maybe we should tack on something extra: "God, if it isn't your will for that mountain to be moved, then give me the strength and faith I need to climb it."
And If I am honest, which I try to be, the times I have been strongest in my Christian walk, was when God didn't remove my mountain, but helped me go on anyway. Over it. As I sit here typing, it feels I am surrounded by mountains. Mountains so high that they about obscure the Son..... but He is still there, and He can help me over them, or move them. Either is fine, though I feel it will be t he former, and not the latter.
That may be true for all of us. We may be meant to be more of a mountain climber than a mountain mover. Both are important. Both can make our faith strong, but the one can make us stronger all around.
And if we never climb any mountains, then how on earth can we ever be on the mountain top?