One of the joys of living in Boone was hiking. I absolutely loved hiking the mountains of the Blue Ridge. The vistas were breathtaking, greater than anything man could create, bigger than any worry, more vast than any love I could imagine. Getting to the top and looking out was like looking over a letter from God. Speaking to us of how able He is, of the beauty and grace that is found in His presence, the omnipotence of His Spirit.
Those vistas can’t be seen from the valley. You have to make the trek up the mountain. Some of those trails are short, some are long and hard but when you get to the top, it’s worth it.
Mountain tops are glorious places. Those times in life when the hard work pays off. Your sore legs get to rest. Your breathing quiets and your soul is at peace. In a moment, you forget about the trail that brought you here and you just enjoy the summit.
Last week Ryan and I were remembering some of the mountain top moments during his treatment. Moments where we felt surrounded by His presence and His Word. Tangible moments where we knew that NOTHING could separate us from His love. It’s difficult to put into words, but there were these moments of peace that truly did surpass all understanding, of hope that knows no bounds, of grace that’s deeper than deep, living waters that flow from His fountain.
As we were talking Ryan said how much he missed those moments. During that time he wasn’t sleeping very much because of the meds so he would spend hours reading God’s Word, praying, worshipping, reading books, and dreaming. When one of us struggled and woke the other in the night, we would read and worship and pray.
It brought to mind some mountain top moments in the Bible…remember when God approached Moses through a burning bush and called Him to rescue His people? Moses didn’t see a burning bush every morning. He had that moment, and then he had to walk out that calling. He could remember it, but it was time to put one foot in front of the other. Remember when Jesus took three of his disciples up on the Mount of Transfiguration? Peter said ‘this is so good, Lord, let’s stay here’. Isn’t that so like us? God, this moment, this place is so good. Let’s just stay here. They couldn’t stay there. They had to come down from that mountain and walk out their faith, and that included some very, very difficult days as Jesus was arrested and crucified. He gave them that moment so they could remember it, gain faith from it, receive truth, and have it to stand on it when they needed to persevere. But they couldn’t stay there. And neither can we.
We have to walk out our faith.
The girls and I were so blessed to meet up with a couple who serve as missionaries in Asia, Ty and Cina. We worked with them at OneHope and have stayed in contact with them over the years. They were instrumental in praying for Ryan when we were in the hospital and we have seen God directly answer the prayers they prayed so specifically for us, without even knowing our needs. As I was telling them what God has done throughout this process, they encouraged us to pay attention to God’s wonders. We often ask God for His signs. We ask Him for the big moments, we wait for the big moments, the mountain tops. Yet, every day He is doing wonders among us, and if we pay attention, we can see them.
One morning Ryan and I woke up feeling particularly discouraged. We took Brooklyn to the bus stop and as we were driving away Amari ‘randomly’ said, “Mom, Dad…I need to tell you something. God has better plans for you.” We looked at each other and looked back at Amari and asked her to repeat what she said. “God says He has better plans for you.” We cried. We are so thankful for the places God has brought us, for the amazing people in our life…and in that moment, we felt like God was saying that He isn’t finished. He doesn’t heal to abandon. He doesn’t come close to withdraw. He doesn’t call to walk away. His plan for us continues even when we feel uncertain or afraid.
Our prayer for this season has been that as we wait for God to reveal our future, He would find us waiting with joy and hope. Sure, there will be moments when it is hard. There will be moments when He doesn’t feel close. There are moments when we feel desperate. But His Word says over and over again, “Do not fear…don’t be afraid…who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life…” Lord, as we wait, may You look upon us and see faith, may You see us walking this out, remembering who You are, and that You never change. May our joy be in You. May our faith be complete, not lacking. May You be our everlasting hope.
Those mountain vistas are breathtaking. But we must come down and walk out our faith, remembering those moments and cherishing them when the trail is hard.
“Faith is a place of mystery, where we find the courage to believe in what we cannot see and the strength to let go of our fear of uncertainty.”
― Brené Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are