The other day, I was sitting with my husband on the welcome center porch at the University where he teaches. The sun was setting behind the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. And God was wooing me. He knows that my love languages are cows, rainbows, and sunsets. And there He was, whispering lovely truths into the ears of my heart. The majestic Maker of those mountains chose that moment to speak to me about the mountains He has allowed and will allow me to meet.
These mountains haven’t all included what you would call, “a mountain top experience.” Many of them have been the sorts of mountains you just want to move. They’ve been the sorts of mountains that He has said He could move if you have faith the size of a mustard seed to ask Him. They’ve been the sort of mountains that have instigated broken hearts rather than broken legs. They’ve been the sorts of mountains that have such gradual inclines, you don’t even realize you’re climbing until you look down and see the cliff your foot is about to slip off of.
Ah, my mountains. I’m a mountain girl. The majestic hills of Western North Carolina are what I will always think of when I hear the word, “home.” Their beauty has not been matched in all my wanderlusting.
But the mountains that I’ve faced in my life, which have entailed a climb unseen by most? For the majority, the beauty has not been revealed to me until those climbs, which escalated slowly and sharply alike have seared my broken heart with their pain-inducing branding iron to mark me with a more refined identity.
That day while I sat there with my husband, I was overcome with gratitude to Him who has seen the minute investments of trust I have mustered up to bring before His throne, as I thought about the high yielding profit He has given me in return. I believed Him when He said that He could move my mountains if I had faith that small, but I often wondered how He would do it because none of it seemed possible.
The spot where we were sitting was planned far before we ever arrived at the mountains of uncertainties, surprises, tears, struggles, breathlessness, and pain. It was written into our story so we could visualize how much bigger our God is than our mountains are, have been and will be.
We had moved from those Blue Ridge Mountains to Music City hoping…no expecting… something new, exciting, and, well… bigger. And that’s what we got. We got it at the surface level for the first 365 some days. But the mountains we came to after the novelty wore off, were the kind you find unexpectedly once you’ve been kicked to the curb and happen to look up at what’s a head.
Those mountains? They were steep and dangerous most of the time. Occasionally, there would be an amazing view from various vantage points along the way. But mostly, they left us weary, with depleted resources.
I don’t know if our journey through those mountains was as much about getting to the top and heading downhill as it was about God having us climb them for awhile and then setting our feet on solid ground, distanced just far enough from them to be able to see how small the hilly terrains were compared to the new place He placed us and how much larger He is whatever our vantage point.
With my eyes fixed upon the scenic view of the Peaks of Otter I put my fingers in the air and did something I’ve done since I was a child. I used my index finger and thumb to visually squish those tiny mountains and I thought to David, “Those are our mountains right there. We’ve made it through them because God has done it. They are small now. But He is Great.”
I came back to this area kicking and screaming on the inside when God gave my husband the job that helped move some of our mountains. I knew it was the right thing. But I didn’t like it.
After some distance from those mountains, which were introduced to us by a job snatched from underneath us, health issues, and automobile accidents, I could see how small they were compared to us, where we sat at that moment. They were so little once we had been rescued from them and our journey through them had been redeemed. Those things are monumental in our hearts, yes, but not nearly as much as the panoramic scenes of beauty that was chiseled onto the landscape of our souls, ebeneezers that they are. And our God? He looked a whole lot bigger right then too. But His size is constant…He is greater than everything.
Our lives aren’t free of mountains. We seem to face them consistently. New ones. Old ones. Some that intersect.
But on that crisp June day in Virginia, in the place where we sat gazing at the Blue Ridge Mountains highlighted by the pink sky, the mountains that are part of our story all seemed to be dwarfed by the greatness of the One who let us experience them…the one who replenished our resources and has moved…us, our feet, and sometimes, even our mountains.
And the winds seemed to sing the words of the founder of the place God had carried us back to, “Don’t tell God how big your mountain is, tell the mountain how big your God is.”