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Climb The Mountain

CBN.com -- “You have to be committed” -- that’s what he said. We were climbing Mount Sneffels, one of Colorado’s great mountains, 14,150 feet tall. I was talking with a friend as we climbed. He said, “My wife is along, but she’s not committed to making the top. She gets tired, she may turn back. It’s no big deal with her whether she gets to the top or not. But me, I’m committed. My goal is to reach the summit. My muscles may be aching and my body wanting to quit, but I’ll push on.” Ah, yes, those are the ones that reach the top.

In the Old Testament, God is compared to a mountain. “Thy mercy, O Lord, is in the heavens; and Thy faithfulness reacheth unto the clouds, Thy righteousness is like the great mountains” (Psalm 36:5-6). The Christian life is like a mountain climb, climbing the mountain of God. God is our mountain to which we cling as we journey toward heaven. Some like to stand at a distance and admire a mountain. What a grand sight it is! But they never get to know the mountain. It is those who struggle up it, who taste its toughness, its difficulty, these get to know the mountain. It is those who cling to the rock when there is exposure and danger, who experience the awesome might of a storm, all the hazards, these get to know the mountain.

Some like to stand at a distance and study God. One may sit in his paneled study and discuss theology, arguing Calvinism vs. Arminianism, dispensationalism vs. covenant theology. It becomes a profound, intellectual exercise, stimulating to the mind. But you do not really get to know God through academic study.

Before climbing a mountain, one should get maps and read what he can about the different routes to the summit. But the only way to get to know the strength and force of the mountain is to climb. This requires time, pain, and struggle.

And it is true that we only really get to know God as we experience the pain and struggles of life -- and keep on climbing, clinging to our Rock. This takes commitment. The first and great commandment is: “Thou shalt love thy Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind” (Matthew. 22:37). And so I must ask myself, “Is God first in my life? Am I committed to Him above all else? Am I committed to reaching the summit, or, if the going gets tough, will I drop out?”

It is a glorious feeling to finally break over the summit and to stand there, gasping for air, legs trembling with fatigue, to see that magnificent vista of mountain range after range unfolding before you. Then you turn to your climbing companion and shout, “Yahoo! We made it! We made it!” You feel your own smallness and the greatness of God. And below, you see the route that was difficult to see as you came up, but now is all in plain view.

One day, the climb of life will be over. We will reach the summit, turn to our fellow climbers and shout, “Hallelujah! We made it!” And we will see the Lord Jesus, face to face, and delight in the presence of Almighty God -- awesome experience. We will look back down the mountain and see the route that God so tenderly laid out for us, all plain now. At times, when we were climbing, it seemed so dark and confusing. But now it is all clear. How good God has been!

In the Swiss Alps, there is an epitaph on a tombstone for a Swiss guide: “He died climbing.” May this be true of us as Christians.

 

Make us Thy mountaineers;
We would not linger on the lower slope,
Fill us afresh with hope, O God of Hope,
That, undefeated, we may climb the hill
As seeing Him who is invisible.

Let us die climbing. When this little while
Lies far behind us, and the last defile
Is all alight, and in that light we see
Our Leader and our Lord, what will it be?

– Amy Carmichael

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