On The Mountain Top

“God is my strength and power, and He makes my way perfect. He makes my feet like the feet of deer, and sets me on my high places.” – 2 Samuel 22:33-34

The early morning is cold, quiet, and still as the winter sunrise creates a prism in the high icy clouds, casting a magnificent rainbow of colors into the blue sky above the mountain. In stark contrast, the snowy landscape below, untouched as yet by the sun, remains bathed in shades of grey and blue, interspersed with patches of dark evergreens growing out of rocky crags that appear almost black in the shadows. The smooth drifts, clean and unmarked by any tracks, bear witness to last night’s snowfall. Near the top, everything is quiet. This is why I come out here so early…the timeless tranquility of this place. The term “mountain top experience” comes from moments just like this; the exhilaration of feeling like I am standing alone with God at the top of the world. Everything seems clean, fresh and new; a blank slate on which I can write a new story. What will today bring?

The icy air numbs my cheeks and even seeps through the thickness of my gloves, chilling my fingers to the bone as they grip the ski poles lying across my lap. It’s really cold this morning! The lift slows and I hang suspended, wondering why we’ve stopped. Looking down, a quick thrill of fear runs through me at the distance to the ground below. Suddenly, the seat beneath me vibrates with the movement of the ski lift’s cable and a brief moment of relief washes over me. My skis and boots gently tug at my legs; a comfortable weight swinging beneath me. I hold onto the arm of the chairlift and rest comfortably against my seat as it bumps over the final bridge before the top of the lift. My heart rate speeds up a bit as I lean forward, eager for that first clean run down the slopes, unencumbered by other skiers and free to fly across the unscarred moguls.

Much like life, snow skiing is like that old Wide World of Sports’ TV slogan, “The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.” One minute you are flying down the mountain, wind in your face and heart in your throat; the next minute you are climbing out of an inconvenient snow bank on the downhill side of a big old mogul, crawling around in search of your lost skis and goggles. The mountaintop experiences are full of joy and wonder, while the valleys can be full of shadows, pain, and seemingly impassable places. One thing remains true wherever you are: it always helps to seek God’s higher perspective. Be thankful and rejoice with Him in the good times and rejoice and be thankful He is walking with you - and sometimes even carrying you - through the bad times.

Suddenly, I’m off the lift and shushing across the plateau, slowing to stop only at the outermost edge of the landing area. I pause once more to look out over the mountains and down across the valley that is now filled with skiers in their brightly colored gear. Ready to face the day’s challenge, I smile and breathe deeply, enjoying a last peaceful moment as I say a quick prayer of thanks, flex in anticipation, and push off, ready to soar!

PRAYER: Father, thank you for your love, mercy, grace, peace, and the joy of this beautiful creation. Help me to keep my mind on you so that when problems arise I will see them through your eyes knowing that there is nothing you cannot handle and that you are on my side. If things don’t go the way I want, then help me learn what I need to learn, and adjust my focus and my expectations so they align with your plan because I know you always want what is best for me. Thank you for reminding me that life is a journey to be savored, not a race to the finish. I love you and praise you with all of my heart, in Jesus’ name, amen.

Additional Scriptures:

“The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights.” – Habakkuk 3:19

“’For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.’” – Isaiah 55:8-12

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