One place that I can clearly say I feel the closest presence of God is in the mountains. There is a peace and tranquility unlike no other place for me. The size and majesty of the rocky slopes always seem to remind me of just how big God is and how very small I am. While Jesus walked the earth the mountains were also one of His favorite spots to pray. Luke 6:12 “One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God.”
There is a love for the outdoors and the challenge of long hikes that has been instilled in me. I would have to give my father credit for these loves as going on hikes with my father is one of my all-time favorite memories of my childhood and of my “Dadders”. It is now something my husband and I love to do and actually is more of my idea of a date than flowers and an expensive restaurant.
The first hike we went on this year required a pretty tricky steep rock scramble at the end to reach the summit. My husband and oldest daughter scaled the rocky steep like there was nothing to it. The strength and agility they both have has always amazed me. Neither one of them are bulky looking muscle heads, but you do not want them to give you a friendly slug to the shoulder (OUCH!!). Our youngest daughter and our two teenage family friends who vacationed with us opted to stay at the bottom of the steep. Not quite sure how far I would make it I proceeded to see how far the old arms and legs would allow this gal to climb. As I hit the trickiest spot I said a prayer of thanks that the other girls had remained at the bottom. As each limb of mine was stretched in opposite directions to find ledges to cling to I was reminded that this rock was my safety. As long as I clung to the rock I would be safe. One false footing or slip of my hand I could easily plummet to my death and really put a damper on this vacation. Doing my best impersonation of a spider monkey I made it over the tough spot and stopped to rest and to determine if I should continue the climb or not. That spot took its toll on the old arms. Upper body strength has never been one of my “strong” points having slacked on my bench pressing and pushups the last forty one years. Continuing on I had gotten three quarters of the way up and my arms and legs started to do the fatigue shake. My husband and daughter started making their descent and voiced words of encouragement, but the trust of my own physical capabilities and strength was shattered by the tired muscle shakes. Not being a huge thrill seeking risk taker I decided to error on the side of caution and to make my way back down via doing a reverse spider monkey scooting on my rear end. Actually the fact that I could make it as far as I did was thrilling to me after the left side of my body had gone numb just a year and a half prior. During that time my walk resembled Lurch from The Addams Family. Spider monkey on a mountain was such a greater blessing of an impersonation than Lurching around our home.
The connection of my physical safety relying on the rock reminded me that my spiritual safety also relies completely on the Rock. I had to find strong foot holds to the rock, cling to the rock, hug the rock; there were times I just wanted to find a cleft in the rock to hold me. You see scripture describes Jesus as the Rock of our Salvation. From what I can conclude there are over fifty scripture references referring to God and Jesus (God in the flesh) as our rock, our stronghold, our fortress, and our salvation. Psalm 18:2 “The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” There has been no greater safety I have found than clinging to God my Rock. In life it is so easy to slip into paths of destruction both physically and spiritually. As I continue the climb in this life I want nothing more than to cling to my God, my Jesus, my Lord, my Rock, and my Salvation!!!!
It looked like I had so much farther to go when actually climbing. Looking at pictures I realize how close I had gotten. It was the camera hooked to the bra strap that was the problem….yeah that was it!! Ha Ha!!