TITLE: The Challenge of the Mountain 6/19/14
By Richard McCaw
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The Challenge of the Mountain
When Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay surveyed Mount Everest, the tallest mountain in the world, they could have turned away from the immensity of rock and earth formation that confronted them. Many others had looked at it and whispered the words, “Impossible!” Others began the climb, but reaching its most difficult paths, turned back, discouraged and frustrated. However, sometimes an impossible dream can have such beauty and grandeur that it inspires the human spirit to scale the utmost heights and achieve greatness. Half the victory seems to be inspiration! One such inspiration at a classical concert charted an important direction in the early years of my life.
My mother had taken us to hear Jon Robertson, a twelve-year-old prodigy, perform at the Ward theater in downtown Kingston. Crowds of people stood in line at the ticket office in the theater foyer. After paying for tickets, we found seats where we could see the performer and hear the instrument clearly. We held a program within our hands and soon the lights were turned off and the spotlight shone brightly upon the stage.
“Welcome one and all!” said Mrs. Packer, an elderly lady, who stood under the lights of the concert stage. With quivering voice she introduced the program with a short background of the artist. Everyone clapped heartily, that is, mostly older ladies and a sprinkling of older men. Then, she disappeared behind the long beautifully-flowing stage curtains. Classical concerts? Like Ebenezer Scrooge of Charles Dickens ‘A Christmas Carol’ I could have groaned, “Bah! Humbug!” Was my mother praying that I would be challenged by that performance? What could really inspire me to take up piano lessons again? Are you kidding?
Suddenly, a young man, about my age, came out dressed in black coat tails. “What kind of nut-case is this?” I must have thought. He bowed, and the enthusiastic audience clapped excitedly. “If this was hoping to get me back to the piano, or if the night was going to be like her music lessons, forget it!” He sat down, adjusted the stool, and wiped his brow with a white handkerchief. “What’s with all this drama!” My eyes and ears became alert. Then, he paused, looked at the keys briefly, raised his hands and began. He played several pieces of music, during which I watched and listened intently, but he also played one of Beethoven’s most difficult but fascinating pieces, the “Pathetique Sonata.” I sat on the edge of my seat captivated. Never had I heard music like that before! Sounds he created on that grand piano fired my imagination, especially the thunderous bass after the introductory section. I could not put my feelings into words. “Only twelve years old! That was great!” I thought. I was thirteen and said to myself then, “If that boy can do it, so can I.”
That summer could have been all fun and games; going to the beach or simply burying myself into more and more Hardy boy books. That brilliant performance motivated me all summer to cram the notes of the first movement of Beethoven’s Pathetique sonata. Soon I was playing that music sufficiently well to carry me to the next stage in the divine drama.
Today, whenever talented children or a prodigy is performing in town, I tell parents, “Take your child to that concert! You’ll not only enjoy the performance, but your child will be inspired as well!”
In our daily lives every event has its divine purpose. Similarly, in the magnificent universe around us, nothing is coincidence. For example, scientists tell us that our universe is expanding at the precise rate needed to cause the formation of galaxies. If our universe expanded too slowly, it would disintegrate into a huge lump; if too quickly, matter would rapidly scatter so effectively that no galaxies would form. If our moon were significantly larger, its gravitational pull would be greater, causing flooding from tidal waves and climatic instabilities. If the sun were much closer to earth, we could not survive. Twenty-one percent of earth’s atmosphere contains just the right amount of oxygen for breathing. Enough evidence exists to suggest that a Super-Intellectual Mind is coordinating everything. That should encourage every honest seeker! And knowing that should lead us to seek our Creator and to build a working relationship with Him.
If you had told me then that I was exercising faith, I would hardly have understood. However, God must have placed faith in me. The angel’s words uttered to the mother of Jesus, “With God nothing shall be impossible!” have stirred many to triumph over the impossible.
Whether cupboards or bank accounts are empty, whether material possessions and successes abound, like Paul, the apostle we can say, “I can do all things through Christ, Who strengthens me! Like King David we can confess, “Through God we shall do valiantly; for it is He that shall tread down our enemies!” and “By Thee I have run through a troop; and by my God have I leaped over a wall!” We are built for victory! “This is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith!” As Jesus said, “If you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you shall say unto this mountain: Remove hence to yonder place and it shall remove and nothing shall be impossible unto you!”
Some call it ‘a lucky coincidence’ that I attended that concert and was so inspired. You may be tempted to say that only if you look at that single incident, but not when you look at the whole picture. I soon discovered that each event in our individual lives, no matter how small, affects hundreds of lives, whether for good or bad. My decision to study the piano was all part of God’s plan that would prepare me to proclaim Christ to hundreds of people as the answer to every human need.
Let us therefore praise God, the Coordinator of every incident in our lives!
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