How To Handle Mountains
by Cathy Bryant (c) 2009
The year I turned forty, I decided to celebrate by climbing a mountain. (What WAS I thinking?)
Just about every summer, my husband and I attend a music conference at Glorieta Conference Center in New Mexico. The tallest mountain at Glorieta is Baldy. Glorieta lies in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, at about 7,600 feet above sea level. The top of Baldy is approximately 10,200 feet above sea level. (Not exactly Mt. Everest, but still tall enough to have thin air--gasp! wheeze!)
It took us four-and-a-half hours to get up the mountain, and about an hour-and-a-half to get down. (My take: the grace of God got us up and gravity got us down!) That trek up Baldy made me very conscious of the correlation between mountain-climbing and the life obstacles we often face.
Obstacles seem insurmountable when we're at the bottom looking up.
Our perspective on the obstacles we face can make them seem daunting. The trick lies in realizing it's all a matter of perspective. When we see ourselves as children of the king, the size of the obstacle shrinks considerably, as does our ability to overcome.
When I stood looking up at the last few feet of our climb, I wasn't sure I could make it. I was achy, out of breath, and dreading the steep climb. I came close to calling it quits. How did I make it?
One step at a time.
It's the same in life. Even in the face of insurmountable obstacles, we have to keep putting one foot in front of the other. Then one day we'll look back and notice how far we've come with God's grace.
All of us will have some mountain climbing (AKA obstacle overcoming) to do at some point in our lives.
Obstacles are a common factor of the human experience. No one is immune. Sometimes the obstacles seem big then turn out to be trivial. Others begin innocuously then show their potential to shake us to the core of our being. Obstacles sometimes come in unexpected forms and surprise us with how they seem to pop up out of nowhere. They also occur on a too-frequent basis for my liking.
But God has a reason...
God uses obstacles to grow our faith.
Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of the boy, and he was healed from that moment. Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, "Why couldn't we drive it out?" He replied, "Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you." Matthew 17:20, NIV
In my own life, God has used obstacles to teach me about Him and His power at work in my life. His Word shows me that even a small amount of faith is enough to get those mountainous obstacles to move.
"Build up, build, prepare the road! Remove the obstacles out of the way of my people." Isaiah 57:14, NIV
I've also been at points in my life when I prayed for the removal of an obstacle, and God's answer was "Not yet. Wait." During those times, I'm forced to trust God deeper than ever before. Then when His timing is right, He removes the obstacle for me.
Once I made it to the top of Baldy, I knew the trip had been worth it. The world stretched out before me, and I could see for miles. It had been an arduous climb, but so worth the effort--aching muscles and bursting lungs included! It is the same with our obstacles. We finally reach the place where the mountain is behind us, and we can look back to see a glorious glimpse of the marvelous act of grace God has performed in our lives.
When we're facing obstacles, it's hard to be grateful. But past experience teaches us You are good and faithful, and that the obstacle will be removed when Your will and purposes have been reached. Help us to learn to enjoy the process of mountain climbing. Thank You for the thrill of conquering obstacles and being overcomers.
In Jesus' Name,
A Texas gal since birth, Cathy lives in a century-old farmhouse with her husband and a phobia-ridden cat. Her debut novel, TEXAS ROADS, was a 2009 ACFW Genesis finalist and tells the story of a disillusioned widow's quest to find home. The book is available through Amazon.com. For more information, visit www.CatBryant.com.