Mountains! What thoughts flood my mind.
I hear the happy voices of my family singing, “She’ll be comin’ round the mountain…” in the back seat of our old turquoise Dodge Dart station wagon. I remember grinding out the words of Marvin Gaye’s “there ain’t no mountain high enough…” into my hairbrush microphone. I recall sitting enthralled in a theater as I anxiously watched the Van Trapp family escape their beloved Austria singing, “Climb every mountain…” And today, I find myself humming along with Mac Powell’s “Mountain of God.”
Mountains are always seen as the place of victorious euphoria. But I also think about some other things I have heard concerning mountains…
The scriptures say we pass from glory to glory, but there’s a lot of gory in between. You could almost say we also pass from gory to gory. You’ve got to remember to form a mountain; there has to be a valley on each side. ~ Joyce Meyer
God promised us an abundant life! Wow, that means we get really high mountains and really deep valleys! Yep, we get abundance! ~ Mark Lowry
If you keep going around and around the same issues long enough; soon you’ll turn even a molehill into a mountain. ~ unknown
Yep, the down side of mountains!
I was born in Mississippi. Mississippi does not have mountains. It has hills.
Then I moved to Louisiana. We do not even have hills. We have elevations above sea level.
But I have driven through the clouds at 10,000 feet in northern Arizona. Topographically speaking, I have a well “peaked” life.
But what about my spiritual life? Often it reads like an excited needle on a seismograph? It swings somewhere between Mount McKinley’s 20,320 feet to Death Valley’s -282 feet.
Am I the only one? Most Biblical teaches say God intended our lives to be a gentle slop, not a frantic Texas Cyclone roller coaster. But where’s the fun in that?
Let’s face it, the Bible is full of pretty amazing stories. You have folks calling down fire, slaying Philistines with the jaw bone of a donkey, seas parting, multitudes being fed, resurrections and transfigurations. Mountains seem to be the most exciting places in the Bible. Every where you look you find people challenged beyond their reasonable limits who encountered the dramatically incredible awesomeness of …well…God. What a rush! The mountain peaks of faith!
Then you have the people on the other side of those adventures. In the valleys you find the prophets of Baal, the Philistines, a few Egyptians and any of the “ites.” They all seemed to have a Death Valley experience… pun intended…with the Living God.
So what’s happening at zero elevation?
There is no zero, flat, level elevation with God. A flat line indicates death. You are either climbing the mountain of faith or plummeting into the valley of destruction. You are with God or without. There is not neutrality.
Moses told the people in Exodus 20, "Don't be afraid, for God has come to test you, so that you will fear Him and will not sin." Seemed simple enough - fear God. But look what happened, “the people remained standing at a distance as Moses approached the thick darkness where God was.” Moses went on up the mountain.
We have always really only had one choice. If we don’t climb the mountain we sink in the valley by default. Until we start climbing we will not fear God more than sin. It is on the mountaintop where the transformation takes place.
So excuse me while I develop some new song lyrics … “she’ll be climbin’ up the mountain…”
Scriptures quotes from the Holman Christian Standard Bible Copyright Holman Bibles, a division of Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2004.
© 9/26/04 Lissa M. Lee