A couple of weeks ago John and I vacationed at a long-time family spot in the mountains. On my last morning I enjoyed a 30-minute jog along a pristine lake with perfect weather that made the run a joy, and reason to worship God more deeply.
As I was finishing up my workout, I ran into my sister-in-law who was at the start of a walk up a hill we all agree has the most beautiful view around.
“I found a loop at the hill’s summit and thought I’d check it out,” she stated without breaking her cadence.
“I’ll join you!” I responded in my usual eagerness to enjoy good company. I fell in line behind her on the shoulder-less road. What would it be, one hour tops?
I couldn’t keep up with her. She rounded back often to check on me. It took us 2:40 to do the whole trek, but I must say I kept up very well on the downhills!
The comfort on this progressively uncomfortable unplanned trek was the beauty of the scenery and my prayers that flowed so easily – sometimes desperately when hitting another incline or barking dog.
“Oh Lord, I thank you for this hike, but if I make it down this mountain, help me to remember the wise Japanese saying about climbing Mount Fuji – if you climb Fuji-san once, you’re wise; if you climb it twice, you’re a fool.” There were more petitions and thanksgivings that may have never graced my lips without the discomfort I was putting myself through.
I meditated on Psalm 121:1 & 2.
I lift up my eyes to the mountains— where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.
This passage first caught my attention when I watched The Sound of Music and verse 1 was quoted. Ironically I was hiking a mountain not one-and-a-half hours from where the Von Trapps settled when they left Austria.
When John and I drove my trek later that afternoon, he noted that the “circle” at the top of the hill was actually a complete descent on the other side of the 1000-foot hill, and back up again. My total run/walk was almost 13 miles, just shy of a half-marathon. All I knew was that I needed to keep one foot in front of the other and talk a lot to God while finding joy on the journey when on the lonely portions.
I couldn’t help but think on how God still speaks through creation (Romans 1:19-20), through an understanding of family order (Ephesians 6:1-4), through the sciences and unusual physical phenomena (Joshua 10:13) and through the arts (Acts 17:28), and finally, how Jesus holds this whole world together despite the adversary’s advances (Colossians 1:17).
And in the end I can say that the view was worth the climb!