My Eyes to the Hills…

“I lift up my eyes to the hills – from where will my help come?  My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.”

We were driving through Maggie Valley last week (whilst in the mountains for Annual Conference) and I was reminded of a fanciful vision I had as a child.  For a couple of years when I was around 6 or 7 years old, my family vacationed in Maggie Valley in some cabins just off of Soco Road, the main highway running through the town.  One day, my dad and I were taking something to the post office and as we were walking outside, I looked up at one of the mountains just behind the post office.  I turned to my dad and said, “I can climb that one!”  Through a little bit of research, I’ve discovered that this particular mountain is called Buck Mountain (the kind folks at the Maggie Valley Visitors’ Bureau are exceedingly helpful, btw).   As we passed the post office last week, I looked up and felt the same way: I could totally climb that mountain.

This is leading me down a couple of trails, if you will:

1) Looks can be deceiving.  If I were to make my way behind that post office, through the neighborhood right behind it (thanks Google Earth!), and make my way up the hill, I would most likely change my tune once the going got steep.  Daydreaming about hiking that hill is not the same as putting boots to the ground.  And at 7 years old when the notion first crossed my mind, I wouldn’t have stood a chance.

2) However, it is entirely possible that I could climb that small mountain.  I mean, we’re not exactly talking about Mount Everest here.  Take a camelbak full of water, some good shoes, and pace myself – I’d be at the top sooner or later.  Given my current level of physical fitness, it’d probably be later, but still – I’d make it.  The difficult is still achievable, you just have to be willing to do the work. 

3) I’ve spent a lot of my life daydreaming – my childhood vision of climbing of Buck Mountain is pretty representative of what was typically going through my mind (I still retain some of that imaginative streak, by the way).  But I also understand that daydreaming is a long way from action.  

In our walk with Christ, we sometimes daydream about how we would like our lives to be.  We often visualize how much better our lives would be if this thing or that thing happened.  We look at situations and think “I could totally climb that mountain”, but if we’re not putting one foot in front of the other, we continue to stand at the bottom looking up.  A huge part of the work of discipleship is the willingness to confront the challenges that we face, one step at a time.   Some days, we might look to the hills and confidently step into our hiking boots and begin the journey.  Other days, we look at Buck Mountain and we see Everest.  We think “I can’t even begin to climb that mountain.”  On those days, look to what the Psalmist says –  lift your eyes to the hills and remember, our help comes from the Lord.  It is not by our own strength, ultimately, that we climb our mountains.  It is by the strength that God gives through the Holy Spirit.  So, brothers and sisters, no matter what mountains we’re facing, let’s climb together knowing that God is our strength!

Grace and Peace,

Wes

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