Mountains and valleys have always had some sort of significant meaning in my life. I suppose it is because life itself consists of lofty mountain top experiences as well as down in the valley experiences.
I believe that God, our Heavenly Father, gives us certain mountain top experiences in our lives in response to our faithfulness and obedience, and to keep us ever reaching toward the prize of the high calling. Though we may reach the pinnacle of the mountain, He gently reminds us that we need not become boastful nor proud of our accomplishment, but humbly thank Him in awe and reverence for allowing us to have this experience, and realize that we need to go higher still. Reaching the top of a mountain is only a beginning, not necessarily an end.
Similarly, I believe that God, our Heavenly Father, gives us down in the valley experiences, not to punish us per se, but to teach us humility. It is often when a man is at his lowest point that he tends to look up the most. Knowing this, our Heavenly Father often places us in situations that help us to return our focus upon the One from whence truly comes our help – He who is a very present help in time of trouble. As we look up from the depths of the valley we gain a magnificent glimpse of the splendor of the mountains above, and perhaps just a small glimpse of what being on top of those mountains is like. Being in the bowels of the valley then is not an end to all things, but perhaps a beginning of new things that are yet to come.
The Lord never promised any of us that we would journey through this life riding upon a bed of roses in ease and comfort. However, He did promise us that if we will endure until the end of the journey, it will be worth it all.
And so, we find that the terrain upon which we travel as we continue our pilgrimage becomes vast and varied. At times we will be blessed to travel down smoothly paved roads with seemingly no obstacles to impair our way. At other times the road may be dusty and rocky and to go ahead on our journey we have to stop and clear the path before us to make it more accessible. Still, at other times, we will face hurdles which we have to get around or go over, or even yet, our greatest challenge will be the mighty mountains that we must climb. Some of the mountains may be better described as hills, but others may seem insurmountable.
Regardless of the size of the mountain, it is our measure of faith that will allow us to overcome this obstacle as well. For we are told that if we have faith, even as the grain of a mustard seed, we will be able to say unto the mountain before us, “Be thou removed and cast into the sea” and it shall be moved.
Let us not approach mountains with fear and trepidation in our hearts, but rather, let us approach mountains with a song and a prayer in our hearts perhaps similar to this one:
Father, as I continue on my journey, I find myself with yet another mountain that I must climb. Try as I might to go around this mountain to get to the other side, I find that I am faced with no alternative but to climb this mountain to reach my desired destination. So, help me to climb this mountain with the faith and understanding that I do not climb it alone. You are always near to guide each footstep that I take along the rocky pathway, ready to catch me if I falter and begin to fall. You are there pushing me on and helping me to keep my eyes focused on the goal when at times I feel like giving up.
The Lord understands that there must be a period of rest from our journeying. It is at that time that He guides us safely down the other side of the mountain and down into the beautiful valley below. It is there in the valley that He leads us beside the still waters and causes us to lay down in green pastures as He restores our souls, thus giving us the necessary strength to press forward and endure to the end of our journey.
Life is full of tests and trials with many obstacles which we will face along the way to include majestic mountains which may seem insurmountable. But, let us take heart that at no time on our journey are we ever alone. He is always right there beside us. So, with a song of gladness in our heart we are indeed able to say, “Give me this mountain that I may rest in the beautiful valley below.”