As I sit writing a few days ago, it began to snow. It started with just a flake or two in the sky, faintly. Then two, then three and before you know it, the sky is full of them. Softly falling. Gently. Minutes ago, I could see clearly the little mountain beyond my window. Now a minute or two later, it is snowing so thick you can barely see the little mountain! Yet, cars are driving past my house just flying by. Snow doesn’t slow anything down here in Idaho. People just put it in four wheel drive, and keep on trucking. Things here are never dull or boring!
I love sitting here at my window looking out as I work, and the ever changing sky and little mountain out my window just seeps peace into my soul.
Looking at the tree covered mountain just outside my window reminds me of a thought shared by a little lady who went to the big country of India to work with the children there. Many of these children had been rescued from temple prostitution, and came to her home desperate and ravaged spiritually as well as physically. You may know her story well (if you don’t, go to your local library and pick up a book on Amy Carmichael); you will be blessed by her story.
As she took in these young children whose lives had been completely shattered, she faced a monumental task to try to teach them about a God who loved them. The children were raised in a home where they were taught daily about a merciful and loving God. One of Amy’s favorite things to teach these young children was to look to the mountains.
Mountains symbolize the unmovable and unshakable. She taught the children to look to the mountains and imagine as though the mountain were God himself.
Beholding the mountain in the sunshine and daylight is easy because there are no shadows or darkness. Each beautiful outline of the mountain can be seen and wondered at. You don’t doubt that the mountain is there because you can see it, and such beauty there is to behold. When the sun is shining, it is so easy to believe in God, and see His beauty for yourself.
|Picture taken Friday, Jan. 11 while walking through the forest behind our home|
But then Amy Carmichael would tell the children to watch closely because one day soon the mountain would be covered up, and appear to have disappeared completely from sight. Storm clouds had rolled in, or darkness had come, and the mountain would no longer be visible.
|Steven's Pass, Washington November 2012|
You see, darkness occludes our vision. Clouds obscure the obvious from view. Indeed, even as the mountain cannot be seen, at times in our lives, it seems that God cannot be felt or known. Clouds, darkness, tempests, storms and trials have covered Him up, and it seems He has removed himself far, far away from us. If we had not seen the mountain before with our very own eyes, how easy it would be to believe that the mountain simply didn’t exist, wasn’t there, and was gone forever.
So, because we had indeed seen the mountain, knew and believed it was there, just because clouds or darkness were covering the face of the mountain, this does not change the fact that the mountain is there, steadfast, immovable, firm and unshakable.
And so it is in our lives. There are times that we feel God so close that we could just reach out and touch Him. He is so near us, and so real to us. We feel as if we could never doubt Him again. His beauty overwhelms us. His love is so real. No other material worldly thing could compare to the beauty of His presence. This is the sunlight bouncing off the mountain in all its beauty and glory.
But! Then comes the cloud, that dark overshadowing moment in our lives, that tempest in the storm. That dark thunder cloud that rocks our boat.
That phone call that changed our life forever.
That word spoken that broke our hearts in pieces.
That financial situation…..
Or an unfaithful spouse….
Oh the despair with the death of a child…. the illness of a loved one, or the crushing blow of a cancer diagnosis….
On the list goes! Fill in the blank!
We’ve all been there and experienced the crucible… the cloud… the darkness in our lives. When it seemed we had no hope left to go on. No trust left. All the beauty and peace in our life shattered in a moments blow. That cloud hung low. The darkness so thick. No one understands and no one cares! Have you been there? Are you there?
Clouds symbolize our emotions and thoughts.
Think about it for a moment. Think how quickly our emotions may cloud over in a moment, and we feel overshadowed, and as if the very God we had just seen, had suddenly disappeared from our lives. One moment we feel as if the very hand of God were with us, and then in split moment, it seems God has deserted us and left us all alone… in a moment of distress or need.
You see, the clouds roll in at will, and sometimes they part for a moment, and then close back up again, just like our emotions, and thoughts. Sometime the rain pours and the thunder rolls, and then the sun comes out. Sometimes the clouds persist for days, maybe weeks, months... or even years....
|Steven's Pass, Washington, Nov. 2012|
But do the clouds and the darkness change or alter in any way the unmovable, unshakeable, firm, and invincible mountain? No. No indeed.
That mountain is still there. It hasn’t gone anywhere. External, outer appearances may have changed. Our clouds (emotions) with all their instability come and go…. but the mountain is still there. It can still be touched. It can still be felt. Clouds may obscure, darkness may hide, but the mountain is still there. It hasn’t gone anywhere.
|Steven's Pass, Washington, Nov. 2012|
This is what Amy Carmichael would teach these young children. Look to the mountains. Learn from them. Know that your God and Saviour, Jesus Christ is just like these mountains. The beauty and loveliness may be obscured from view for a time, but God doesn’t change. He’s still there. He will always be there, unchanging, unmoving, and unshakeable. He is still there. He still cares!
Darkness comes. Clouds come and go. But our God is there. The sun will shine again. The beauty will astound and amaze us once again. Wait. Be patient. He is there. He has not left you. The sun will shine again!
May we always remember the lesson taught by Amy Carmichael. God is our mountain, unchanging, and unmoving. External life issues may hide Him for a moment… but when the time is right, the sun will come out and shine again, and the beauty will again be ours to behold.
Perhaps this dear lady drew her insight from this scripture written by the psalmist David in Psalms 121:1-2 “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.”
Lifting our eyes unto the hills here in Idaho has been the most uplifting experience we’ve had. The mountains are ever changing depending on the weather, sunlight, darkness or clouds. I never tire of looking up, and imagining the face of God smiling down at me, rain or shine, darkness or clouds. He is there, ever present, unmoving, and unshakable. My God and Saviour is my ever present help!