One of my favorite parts of living in Denver is being near to the mountains. I took the picture in this email during one of my family’s first trips to the mountains after moving to North Carolina in 2018.
I snapped this photo because of how struck I was by the many ridges I could see. One after another after another. The mountains seemed to stretch on forever.
The ridges were beautiful to gaze at from a distance. But a thought struck me— they wouldn’t be so beautiful if I was actually hiking through them.
Have you had the experience in hiking when you’re climbing up a ridge and by the time you near the top you’re completely exhausted. But you push yourself a bit further because you know that once you reach the top, you’re done! Then you can rest! Only to get to the summit and see another ridge waiting for you, looming just beyond.
The ridges of life can act in a similar way. Sometimes we overcome an obstacle thinking that when its done, its done. The problem is resolved. Check it off the list. Only to find a related issue right around the bend. Another ridge to climb. Another problem to navigate.
When you’re in the midst of climbing ridges and solving problems, it can feel exhausting. You may feel drained, unsure if you can overcome one more. If this is how you feel today, I encourage you to take a step back to see the broader scene. Like the picture above, it’s actually quite inspiring.
You have overcome much in your life. You have climbed many ridges. You’ve made it this far— and that’s an accomplishment. Sure, there may be more to climb. But you’re equipped to do so.
Do you know how I know that?
Because you do not climb alone.
The psalms have a category called “songs of ascent.” The city of Jerusalem was situated high on a hill. Jews would travel to Jerusalem for several religious festivals each year. The psalms of ascent were sung on their way up the mountain. You can read them— they are psalms 120-134.
They would sing songs of praise to God on their way up the mountain. They didn’t wait until they were at the top to praise God. They sung while still in the process of climbing. I think we all need our own song of ascent as we climb the ridges of life.
Perhaps we can sing along with psalm 121:
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.
Are you lifting your eyes up to the mountain, staring up at an obstacle that appears overwhelming? Rest assured— your help comes from God. The Lord of heaven and earth— and the mountains you face— travels with you. Hallelujah!
This Sunday is week four in the season of Lent. Pastor Dana will preach about how abundant life comes from embracing the mysteries of our faith.
See you on Sunday!