I’m on the side of the mountain, looking down the rocky steep drop just to the right of me. I’m speechless at the majestic views all around, surrounded by rich in vibrant colors of greens, grays and blues. The mountain ranges to the east and north are covered in the greenest trees and quiet mountain lakes dot the valleys in between. The sky is so crystal blue and cloudless it reminds me of the vast ocean so still it looks like glass. The clean warm breeze on my face reminds me I’m still breathing. I’ve come a long way, I’m short of breath, my heart is pounding and fear is starting to grip my tummy. The way up has gotten increasingly difficult and steep. My guide, Jesus, looks back at me and smiles. He knows the distance I’ve come, from the valley far below. I can see he’s reading my thoughts “I’ve come so far, do I have to keep going?”
“Not at all,” Says Jesus. “I will be with you whatever you decide. Look up ahead, I know the way up looks steeper and more dangerous than you imagined when you started this journey. I know how weary you are watching every single step and being careful not to slip. I know the journey has been perilous at times and you wonder how you will reach the summit. My precious daughter, I have something grand and marvelous waiting for you at the top. You can retrieve it today or you can camp here and retrieve it another time. I will sit here and wait with you while you decide. I love you all the same.”
As I peer up the mountain, the path is non-existent. All I see are massive boulders and sheer rock faces. I can hardly see how I would make it over the next crest, let alone all the way to the top. In fac, I can’t even see the top of the mountain. I look down at the path just ahead of where I’m standing and notice a sturdy place to put my foot and think to myself, I can certainly make it another step. I just need to keep putting one foot in front of the other. Keep my eyes directly on the path just in front of me and trust that Jesus will hold my hand on the more treacherous parts. I imagine what might happen if I slip off the side of the cliff and even as the image dances in my mind Jesus says “I will catch you if you fall.”
And so, with that assurance, I take a deep breath, look around and God’s glorious creation. With a smile and a nod I say Jesus, “Okay Jesus, let’s keep climbing.”
Making the decision to turn my life over to Jesus was easy. I trust his promises for love, protection and provision. I believe there’s a point in every Christian’s life that requires a moment of decision. As my friend Brenda recently described it, the walk with Christ is like climbing a fourteen-er and reaching a moment of decision to stay in the place that’s comfortable or pressing on to the summit. There’s a point on the side of the mountain when altitude sickness starts to hit, weakness, shortness of breath, headache all seem to descend upon my body at once. It’s not unbearable, but knowing the higher I go, the more intense it will become. It would be so much easier to just stop and enjoy the view. Life in this place is slightly challenging but mostly blessed and great and frankly pretty easy. But God is tugging at my heart, he’s asking for more of me. That would mean giving up my selfish ways, “dying to self and becoming new”. I don’t know exactly what this would look like, but I’m certain it involves thinking less about me and more about others, risking heartbreak and rejection by people, and who knows what other scary things he would call me into. If I follow him and dream bigger, the risks get bigger, the target on my back gets bigger, the stakes are much higher.
However, the very power that raised Jesus from the dead resides in me (Romans 8:11). With a bold faith, I declare this the year I will climb higher. I let Jesus take me to places I never thought I could go, seek a deeper relationship with him and say goodbye to the things of the world and within myself I’ve been holding onto. I will trust him with every fiber of my being that he will never let go of my hand. I praise God for the opportunity to step up, behold the view from the summit and take hold of exceedingly, abundantly more than I could ever ask or imagine!