Look for the big mountain...
To say I love the mountains is probably an understatement. One of the things I do multiple times a day is to simply look up and take a moment to gaze upon them. It’s one of the perks of living on the Front Range of Colorado. Because of where I live, I can see the northern section of the Rocky Mountains. My eyes are always drawn by two large mountains in the center; Mount Meeker and Longs Peak. They are right next to each other. Long’s is slightly larger at 14,259 feet above sea level and Meeker is 13,916 feet. It’s just short of being what Coloradans call “Fourteeners”.
Early summer mornings, I sit on my front porch and I savor my prayer time with God. Reading the Bible and doing my best to hear what God is saying to me. As I sip my coffee and sit back in my chair, I often look up to Longs and Meeker. There is always snow somewhere on the two, even in late summer. The strength, the size of those two mountains, they dominate the long line of mountains going out from either side of them from North to South.
If you spend time studying those big mountains, one of the things you notice is how their look changes throughout the day. It’s been said that you never see the same mountain twice. The light changes, storms roll in and out. All through the seasons they change. The dark greens, browns, grays and blues, give way to patches and lines of gold aspen leaves in the fall. And in winter, the snow piles up in deep drifts as the mountains turn white. It seems strange as I see those mountains change from hour to hour, season to season, because in another way, they never change. Because of their particular shape you can always recognize them. Those two big mountains are always revealing something new about themselves and yet there is a sameness. I like that. That sameness is a comfort to me.
On the wall of my office hangs a piece of steal with the words cut out of it that read, “your mountain is waiting so get on your way”. Bebe got it for me as a gift. If you didn’t catch, I’m a fan of the mountains. My parents told me that my first word was, “mountain”. So it probably doesn’t surprise you that I’m not just content to sit on my front porch and look at the mountains, I have a deep desire to be in them, on them, exploring them, getting to know them.
I know the mountains well. I drive a jeep. Yes, it’s a wonderful thing! It’s my tool to explore. Along with some jeeper friends, we explore all over the mountains. As I explore, I look for those two peaks, Longs and Meeker, just to gauge where I am. Sometimes I get turned around. It’s easy to get lost in the mountains. That’s why you never hike or jeep alone. When I get lost or turned around, if I can see Longs and Meeker, I know where I am and how to get home. Or at least, I know what direction I need to travel.
Those big mountains are a good picture of God to me. Let me see if I can describe what I mean. Those two giant peaks are the center of the mountains when I look at them. They capture my focus. God is central to me as I look at my life. He is huge, rising above everything else. That’s not me being prideful, but simply reality. My relationship with God through his Son Jesus Christ, is real.
Everyday, depending on where I am in my life, I can look up to him, like I do those mountains. My Father God is there, tall, solid, strong and unique. And yet, everyday, I see God differently. As I travel this life following Jesus, and studying God’s words in scripture, God reveals new things about himself to me. As I study God’s word and go throughout the day. It’s amazing how the Holy Spirit of God reveals new things about God the Father. As I pray and study God’s word, I often have this thought, “How have I never seen that particular detail about God before? The power of the Holy Spirit will shine a light on a new ridge or valley, some part of God that I have never noticed before.
Sometimes, I feel like I’m losing my bearings. It’s during those dark times, I try to look and see God, the big mountain.
I hope that in my writing and speaking to never give the impression of having it all together. Life is hard and messy, and I’m not very good at it. Just forgiven by the sacrifice of Jesus. But, I’m trying to follow Jesus and his teaching as best I can. Life takes me to some pretty difficult places. Sometimes, I feel like I’m losing my bearings. It’s during those dark times, I try to look and see God, the big mountain. But sometimes, he is covered up. Circumstance, or just my point of view is obscured by life. I don’t know about you, I can begin to lose hope, lose my joy. I can get scared when I can’t see the big mountain of God.
But that’s where trust comes in. Like Longs and Meeker, when they are covered by thick clouds, I know they are right there even though I can’t see them. I trust.
Sometimes, when I’m exploring in my jeep, I have to get the map out and just make sure of where I am in relationship to the mountain. God does that to us sometimes. He lets circumstance and the storms of life hide him from our sight.
As a pastor, I often remind people that are in the middle of a storm, that during difficult times, “to trust what you know about God. Don’t lean on what you feel, lean on what you know.” And I tell them, “break out that map”. The Bible. Study it, know it, especially during the hard times. God is still there behind the storm and you will see him again. You just have to wait for the storm to go away. I know that’s not easy to wait and study the Bible in when you can’t see God or feel him. But once the storm clears, God begins to reveal so much more of himself. The mountains reveal so much more of who they are after a storm. For me, that’s when the mountains smell the sweetest and look the brightest. After the storm, the sweetness of God overwhelms me. I am often brought to tears as I think about how God loves me and walks with me.
As a pastor, I often remind people that are in the middle of a storm, that during difficult times, “to trust what you know about God. Don’t lean on what you feel, lean on what you know.” And I tell them, “break out that map”. The Bible.
God is like those big mountains to me in so many ways. And if I’m completely honest, the more I get to know God the more in awe I am of him. Let me see if I can explain. The more I walk with Jesus, the more the Holy Spirit reveals who God is, there is a “catching my breath” moment. I don’t really know how else to describe it. Don’t hear me wrong. I’m not saying that God is scary like ghosts or something that jumps out at you in a movie. No. It's more of the majesty, respect, awe, a holy fear.
Although many Coloradans spend time in the mountains, I’m always surprised by the fairly large part of the population that have never explored our mountains. For them the mountains simply exist in the background of their life. Just a silhouette against the sky. Oh, these people say they love the mountains, but most of the time I think they see them without really seeing them. They will notice them at sunset or every once in awhile, but the mountains don’t call out to them like they do me. I had a neighbor once that had spent his entire life, up to that point, seeing the mountains in the distance, but never going up into them. I don’t understand that. By the way, I grabbed him and spent the day driving in the mountains. He got hooked.
For me, I seek the mountain. To know him more, every part of it. The mountain of God. I am desperate for a Savior and King. I need help. I am lost without Jesus in my life. He has rescued me from my sin. Oh, I need a savior and I have found one. The mountain of God. And He is Glorious!
1 I lift my eyes toward the mountains.
Where will my help come from?
2 My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth. (CSB)
As I sip my coffee in the morning and contemplate those big mountains in the distance, my spiritual eyes are on the true mountain of God found in the Bible, Jesus. I long to explore him more and know him better.