It wasn’t that we were “lost”, exactly… But reading and understanding the signs was tricky. To make it more urgent, an Alpine thunderstorm was heading our way: and we were up an Alp looking for the way back to Scheffau. Scheffau wasn’t on the signpost as a destination.
A little bit of guidance would be nice! By the way- we made it down OK.
“We spend too long in our life trying to figure out where God wants us to be … instead of just allowing God to do something with our life where we are.”(Author unknown)
Christians agonise over finding God’s guidance, and we worry so much that we don’t actually DO anything until we are certain of God’s Will. At the risk of upsetting some fellow believers, I’m going to say that when we live like that we may be getting it wrong!
Does God have a perfect plan for our lives? Yes- but not necessarily in the way we think. Our life purpose is wrapped up in something much bigger: God’s purpose. Consider the Book of Esther in the Old Testament. Esther, the Queen, faces a dilemma. The Israelites are threatened with death. But for Esther to help, she has to take an enormous risk. Esther 4:14 is interesting. “For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?”
We usually quote the last part of the verse: note it says “Who knows?” It’s a question. They weren’t sure. They knew God wanted to save the people- His larger purpose. They knew Esther had been told of the plot. But did they know for sure what Esther was supposed to do? Apparently not!
There will be times when you’ve gathered all the information, you’ve prayed as well as you know how, you’ve sought godly advice; what you are doing is not sinful … but there is something inside of you that’s still not sure. WE have to trust that if we are following God and seeking His purpose, HE will work out the rest! Don’t wait to be 100% convinced: just be 100% available.
It’s a photo of an old smuggler’s route in the Pyrenees. A steep climb up from the valley leading to a magnificent view. Stunning!
Much social energy and ambition is poured into “being a success” or attaining “celebrity status.” It is the equivalent of climbing a mountain to be seen, to be able to boast. As David McCullough Jr pointed out, it is better to “Climb mountains, not so the world can see you, but so you can see the world.”
(By the way, getting to the mountain top by using the chairlift doesn’t entitle a name change to “Edmund Hillary”…)
Standing over such a panorama as this changes our inner perspective. At least, it should do (in my opinion, anyway!) because the rugged vast beauty suggests that we are not the centre of the universe. Even if we’d like to be.
One of the deep lessons of spending thirty years as a pastor has come from standing on the highest available hills overlooking the communities I served- and simply seeing the whole area spread out. Being there and consciously praying for the people was both humbling and inspirational. Doing this “mountain climbing” at twilight was especially moving. Lighted windows and lit street lamps twinkled below whilst the stars above began to sparkle, signposts of the immensity of the Galaxy. The number of lights spoke of the number of people- and the importance of reaching every person with the Light of the World. Jesus said “Go into ALL the world…”
I don’t think the church or community knew I was up there- and I’m glad. I wasn’t there to be seen. I was there to recognise the scale of God’s everlasting loving-kindness to everyone I could see, know, or imagine- and pray. My one regret is that I might have done this more often.
In one of the temptations of Jesus, the devil took Jesus to the highest point and offered Him “all of this- if you will worship me.”
Jesus answered him, “It is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.’” (See Luke 4)
The highest places and attainments in this world are dangerous indeed- they can make us proud unless they keep us humble. It’s always worth asking ourselves how we’re responding to the “mountains” in our world. Jesus came to serve.