The Shadow of the Mountain

I woke up this morning with an urge to do something that I have never done before – ascend a local mountain by walking a path along the power line.   Why?  Two reasons. First, it is part of a renewed intention to become healthier through eating better and exercising more. Secondly, it’s there.  The mountain exists and I wanted to know what was up there.  The parallels for us meeting with God sprang to life.

My trek up the mountain began with a spirit of intentionality. I was driven by the purpose to ascend the mountain. No waffling.  No excuses.  One purpose – get to the top.  Shouldn’t our walk with God be one of intentionally planning to ascend to His presence?  After all, this IS what He desires.  Chance meetings with those we are familiar with  are fun, but relationships that have the richest relationships are those that have intentional moments of interaction.   Intentionally meeting God never disappoints.

As I began up the mountain I walked in the darkness of the shadow of the mountain. No sun – just a shadow. It reminded me of those times in life when it seems as if we are walking in the shifting shadows of uncertainty.  We can see, but our sight is blurred by a veil of the shadows. You know what dawned on me though? Shadows are caused by the presence of light.  As a matter of fact, shadows actually prove there is light present.   The radiant beams of the sun were cascading upon the mountain causing it to cast it’s shadow long and dark.  I might have been walking in the shadow but the passion of my pursuit now became light on top of the mountain.  I wasn’t waiting for it to come to me.  I was going to it.  And, it would be found at the top.

For the first 3/4 of my journey I felt very little breeze and had began to work myself into a nice healthy sweat. Then, out of nowhere, I felt it. A small breeze that brought refreshing to my body. It gave me a small preview of a pleasant wind of renewal that awaited me at the summit. At the top I would bask in the rays of the sun, while enjoying the rejuvenating freshness of the wind.  Tired? Weary? There’s a wind of refreshing on top of the mountain.  Keep going.

At last I found my goal – the pinnacle. I was on top.  On one side the shadows still lurked and the fog enveloped the valley. The sun on the other side had chased the fog and shadows into a surrendering retreat.  It wouldn’t be long till they were chased from the other side of the mountain as well. From my vantage point on the mountain I could see both sides.   In our lives there are seasons when we feel as if the darkness will not end, and the shadows are overcoming us.  On the mountain with God we find a  renewed faith reminding us the shadows are only for a moment and they are proof of the sun on the other side.

I spent an hour on the mountain looking at scripture and listening to some songs. Just prior to descending back to the valley below I said this to God: “just speak to me.” God has spoken to my spirit in the past and He always speaks to me through His word, but this day I wanted something different. All of us have heard of those who give testimony to visions from God, the audible voice of God or some other supernatural phenomenon.  And, to be honest I was in some ways looking for one of those moments.  Did I get it?  No.   The earth didn’t shake, lightning didn’t flash, thunder didn’t roar, and the heaven’s didn’t open up. There wasn’t a burning bush, a ram stuck in a bush, and nobody appeared in a transfigured form.  There was simply, nothing.  Or, so I thought.

As I turned to begin my descent back down the mountain I saw it.  I didn’t see it there 2 minutes prior when I walked past it.   Before my eyes was the shape of a heart made from a number of stones.  Then I saw something else above the heart.  I saw the letter “I” formed by yet another set of rocks.  I knew what I would find below the heart.  I looked and sure enough another series of rocks formed the word “you”.  Prior to my asking God to speak to me I had not seen it and it was right where I walked.  Now, I saw it.  There it was in letters of stone – I love you.  In the words of my little granddaughter, Carsyn:  “Whoa, Baby!”

I realize that someone probably formed that message of love for a spouse, girlfriend or boyfriend. I am not suggesting God had unseen angels behind me forming a rock based message for me. (although He could if He wanted) I am suggesting however that He, at the very least, opened my eyes to see what I had missed in order to speak to me as I had asked Him to do.  And, the message was simple and clear – I love you. You know what?  I will take that!   Everything else is secondary to that one powerful message.  After all, everything God does is from the basis of love so why wouldn’t the message on the mountain be:  “I love you.”

In our lives there are moments when the shadows creep in.  It’s okay.  Scale the mountain and you will see the light that shines upon it.   Scale the mountain and you will see the very source that causes darkness to flee.  In that atmosphere your faith will be restored and the winds of refreshing will renew your strength.  And, I am fairly certain you will walk away knowing that He indeed loves you.

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