The Woman on Top of the World
The wind caught me by surprise as I stood for the first time on Table Rock Mountain. I reached to grab my hat, but it was gone. Oh, well, it didn't matter anyway, I had made it! I was standing right in front of the Grand Teton! My heart beat wildly and my hands reached for the heavens.
I felt as if I were flying! Surely this is the dwelling place of God! This is the mountain of his house, his supreme creation! Oh, if only I could see him! Reverently, I bowed my head and whispered a prayer of thanks.
"And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it."— Isaiah 2:2 KJV
I grew up in the Snake River Valley, the very heart of southeastern Idaho. On a clear day, the Three Teton Peaks towered above the mountain range on the horizon visible through our front room picture window. I dreamed of the day when I would travel there myself and see their beauty and grandeur.
The girls from our church attended a summer camp every year in Darby, Wyoming at the foot of the Tetons. Each age group went on a hike during their week at the camp. The first year girls went on a simple overland hike. The second took a more rigorous journey, weaving around the base of the mountain peaks to a mid-level destination. Those in their third year hiked up Table Rock Mountain, next to the Grand Teton.
Being on Table Rock was like being on top of the world! I felt I could reach out and touch the heavens and that God was just a leap away. I talked about it for days and weeks afterward and my younger sisters looked forward to the time they would join me on the hike.
Have you ever been on top of a mountain?
The second summer I was to go on the hike, one of my younger sisters was old enough to go with me. We planned and prepared, gathering our equipment, preparing our minds and bodies for what we knew would be a grueling test of our abilities.
While at the camp we talked about what it would be like to make the climb. Our excitement mounted as the day approached. Unfortunately, the night before the hike, my sister became suddenly ill. The leaders in the camp asked everyone to pray for her swift recovery. My mind was reeling from the gravity of the circumstance. I knew that it would take more than just a prayer for her to go on the hike. We needed a miracle!
I ventured into the woods alone, determined to make it happen. Dropping to my knees, I poured out my soul in behalf of my sister. With tears rolling down my cheeks, I pleaded, "Dear Heavenly Father, please give her sickness to me! Let her go on this hike to the top of the mountain instead of me! I have already been there, she hasn't! Please let her go!" I lay down that night fully expecting to wake up ill.
It didn't happen. I hiked the mountain that day without my sister. Every step, I poured out my bitterness and disappointment to God. The closer we came to the top, the more guilt, shame, and remorse I felt that I was there, and she was not. How could this happen? Where did I go wrong?
Take the Challenge
Find hope in the midst of despair, find light when its dark everywhere. Find faith when you are surrounded by doubt, find friendship when there really is no one about. Find time when there is not a minute to spare, find food for the hungry though cupboards are bare. Find order mid chaos, find peace when without, find quiet and solace when others do shout.
Find love when hatred around you abounds, find life when the clang of the death toll sounds. Find laughter when tears cannot help but be shed, find words when you don't know what needs to be said. Find virtue though others have chosen the vice, find wisdom though others don't seek your advice. Find helpfulness when no one wants to kind; find obedience when you do not want to mind.
Take the challenge; stand up for the right. Don't run away when you have to fight. Don't take the easy road just to win, take the tough one with thorns and chagrin. You see the way that you know is the best, take it and you will have passed the test. Remember that others will follow your way, they may just need your strength today.
Stand up and be counted, you are the one, but a new life for you has just begun. You make a difference; you will win the fight. The lights may be out but it’s not a dark night. Now is the time to do what you must, now is the time to build up your trust. Remember that you do not come here alone; many have passed this way yet unknown. They stand around you as ghosts in the night, and bring you strength as you stand for the right.
When I pulled myself up to stand on the summit, my breath was momentarily taken away. Once again, I was awash with the awe inspiring beauty of the mountains around me. I felt that God was encircling me with the arms of his love as if to say, "It is okay. I did this for you!" I reached my hands up to the heavens and wept as though my heart would break.
The bitterness I felt from not having my beloved sister there with me was washed away by the sweetness of God's love. I was reminded of the feelings I had when I first stepped onto that summit the summer before. Once again, I approached the throne of Almighty God with a closeness that endeared me to him forever
Each and every one of us has our mountains to climb. Sometimes we take our loved ones along. Other times, we climb alone, in spite of every effort to take them with us. Then, for whatever reason, we must walk away, knowing full well that we will not be followed.
It is only after the difficulty of that climb; the discipline of putting one foot in front of the other. the hanging on to rocks and trees on steep embankments, and side stepping up the gravel slides, that we appreciate the breathtaking exhilaration of reaching the summit. Yes, it is only after the trial of our faith, that we are able to taste the sweetness of heaven that comes from being on top of the world!
Do it today! Take the challenge! Make the climb! Experience the view! Know what it feels like to be on top of the world, for only there will you come face to face with God.
© 2014 Denise W Anderson