I’ve loved the mountains ever since I can remember noticing them. We used to go through them almost every year to visit my grandma and grandpa, my mom’s sister, and her family. I remember traveling through them when I must have just learned to read; I thought it was so funny that there were so many signs that said “Falling Rock”. We once stopped at a one-room schoolhouse, and years later we wanted to find it again and were unable to do so.
On the one hand, you could make the case that the mountains are in the way, that they slow you down. And it is true that there are places where you have to slow down for the sake of everyone’s safety.
Some of the roads are narrow and winding. Others are straight down a dangerous grade and have to have emergency escape ramps in case a vehicle’s brakes don’t work well enough and the speed of the vehicle gets out of hand.
Before the interstates were built, it was necessary to choose one winding two-lane highway over another. All the winding around curves,
while it necessitated going slower, also afforded surprises that only those who traveled that road would discover.
When we got to this part of the mountains, my mom would start singing,
“She’ll be coming around the mountains when she comes, She’ll be coming ’round the mountains when she comes, She’ll be comin’ ’round the mountains, She’ll be comin’ ’round the mountains, She’ll be comin’ ’round the mountains when she comes.”
I look back and am amazed at her humor as she sang verse after verse, because somehow or other she was living over her tendency to get carsick.
Recently our family had to go through the mountains again, since our son is going to college on the other side of them. We decided that there were too many semitrucks on the interstate and took the scenic route.
Yes, while it may be slower, sometimes it’s really not. All it takes is a serious accident on the interstate to slow down the traffic so much that it would have been just as fast to take the scenic route. (This actually happened on our way TO the university.)
It’s interesting to me how some people see it as the slow way, and others see it as the scenic route. 🙂
I’ve reached a mountain top at times and looked down at the awesome beauty below, wishing I already had my camera out and ready.
I’ve gotten it out and started taking pictures, but the further you get from the summit, the more the next mountain hides what you just saw.
I’ve wanted to get a closer look at that awesome beauty over there, but as I went down into the valley, the view disappeared. It was still there, I just couldn’t see it anymore.
I had to go up another mountain before I could see out there in the distance, and the view the next time is from a different angle, though still beautiful.
Isn’t it interesting how life parallels these scenes from nature?
We have a mountaintop experience of some sort; maybe we get married or have an amazing experience with God. We spend a relatively short time there, seeing the beauty that life can hold. We feel like we could fly; everything is wonderful!
Then we start to descend the mountain, and the next mountain blocks our view.
We become upset that we can no longer see that mountaintop view.
We forget that life is a journey.
We get tired of the routine of putting one foot in front of the other, the routine of “mountain climbing”, as it were. We remember that something wonderful exists, but since we can no longer see it, we start thinking that maybe that was just a fluke, maybe it was just a once-in-a-lifetime experience that will never come again. We begin to doubt that there is any beauty on the other side of this mountain or that we will ever see it again.
Now at this point, it might be a good idea to open our eyes to the surprises along the road/trail. (Click the links to clarify the analogy.)
- The road we are taking may parallel a mountain stream.
- We may see unexpected wildlife.
- We may come around a bend to see a patch of beautiful wildflowers.
- We may see waterfalls cascading out of the rocks.
- We may come upon a quaint little town or a tourist attraction, an old, closed up mine shaft, a one-room schoolhouse, or a scenic overlook that gives us a glimpse of that wonderful beauty that we thought was gone.
We’re not supposed to stay on the mountaintop all the time. God has ordained that there are people to meet and things to accomplish for His glory. We can and should praise Him for the mountaintop experiences and remember them in a thankful sort of way, not with a complaining attitude that we have had to move away from there to less-than-pleasant times.
We are on a journey.
That journey will have mountains to climb, summits to reach, and valleys to traverse.
In all of these, our LORD, the Good Shepherd, walks with us! Praise His Holy name!
“Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may be blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and perverse generation.” Philippians 2:14,15 BSB
Today I’m thankful for mountains.
I’m thankful for the beauty of mountaintop views, for the surprising beauty around the bend, and for the relaxation of wading in mountain streams.
I’m thankful for mountaintop experiences in life and for the valleys, because the Lord makes Himself known in different ways through each place and time of our journey.
I’m thankful that the Lord is always with us as we travel through both the mountains and valleys of life.
What about you? Have you ever hiked or traveled through the mountains? Do you have any mountaintop experiences that you look back at with happiness that they happened? Do you ever catch yourself complaining about the valley and forgetting that it’s all part of the journey? Are you glad that the Lord is with us in both the mountaintop and valley experiences?