“He has made everything beautiful in its time.” (Eccl 3:11 NKJV)
Last week, in MOUTAIN TOP EXPERIENCES, Part 3, we discovered that when Jesus promises us abundant life, He isn’t promising a life without trouble. Instead, He’s promising us the full, rich life that comes from 100% reliance upon Him when we are in the “valleys” of our lives.
But there are those who seem to live in “Mountain top” experiences all the time. Why are they so “lucky”, while we have to plod through all these problems?
This past summer I was given the opportunity of climbing Mt. Washington. Mt. Washington stands in the record books as being the highest peak in Eastern North America, and it also holds the records for having the most volatile weather patterns in the world.
Now there are many ways to climb Mt. Washington. There is actually a road that goes all the way to the summit. Naturally, you can also take one of the many foot paths, or if you are into adventure of a different type, you can take the cog train.
I wanted to take the foot path, and my husband, who is just starting to appreciate hiking, hadn’t said “no”. His response was, “I don’t know if we’ll have time.” Our boys, now 15 & 17, were game for the climb, and we were all sure we could somehow find the required time.
But that was all before I sprained my ankle. Just 2 weeks prior to my anticipated hike, I fell while horseback riding, and when the time for the coveted climb arrived, and my ankle was still twice its normal size and I was still limping badly. There would be no climbing the footpaths of Mt. Washington for me!
Being the sensitive, wonderful man he is, my husband decided then and there that as a family, we would take the cog train to the top. I know that the boys, and maybe even he, were disappointed, but everyone put on a good face, and we had an enjoyable trip. The view from the top was just as spectacular as if we’d done it on foot, and the stunning scenery we had passed on our way up the train track was well worth the ride.
In all, it made me think: There is more than one way to reach the “mountain experiences” in our lives. There are some who inherit wealth. They don’t have to do anything to have it. There are others that struggle along to attain in. Which one appreciates it more?
There are some who are naturally healthy. Never a sick day in their lives. And others do everything in their power to boost their immune systems and stay healthy. Which one appreciates good health the most?
Of course, we would all naturally choose the least painful way, the one that would just raise us to the top without us having to go through trouble. But things happen that are beyond our control. After all, I hadn’t planned on spraining my ankle and ruining my hike, but when it happened anyway, I still made it to the top, and the view was just as special!
The same is true of our lives from a Spiritual perspective. Things happen in life that aren’t necessarily God’s will. They happen as a result of the choices that He allows us to freely make. For example, before going out riding that fateful day when I sprained my ankle, I had a feeling I shouldn’t go. I realize now it was God’s warning to me, but I chose to ignore it. My sprained ankle wasn’t His will, it was a result of me not listening to His voice. It was my own choice.
Things happen to us in life! People make bad choices and these either hurt themselves or others or both. The only way for God to prevent these things from happening is to take away our power of choice, and this is something He isn’t willing to do.
But the good news is, God is big enough to get us through these problems that arise. He is powerful enough to figure out ways to get us out of the “valleys” and on to our “mountain top” experiences, despite the problems! It may not be the way we would have chosen, but it gets us there nonetheless, and if we learn to let God ride us through our troubles, the trip will be thrilling of its own accord, and the view from the top will be just as beautiful! He truly makes all things beautiful, in His time!
But I still don’t get it. Wouldn’t my walk with God be just as rich, if not richer, if I never had to go through the problems? If I could just live on the mountain top?
Join us next week, for MOUNTAIN TOP EXPERIENCES, Part 5: The View From the Top of the Little Matterhorn.
(To access the entire “Mountain-Top Experiences” devotional series, please click here.)