You were just taking a stroll down the journey of life, captivated by the view of the gorgeous sunset, when out of nowhere a mountain appears in your path. You have trodden down this road hundreds of times and you are pretty sure that there was no mountain in your way before. The path of your life has been clear sailing. Thoughts flood through your brain, “What happened? I did not see that coming,” you shout silently in anger. “This mountain is blocking the beautiful view of my almost perfect life.”
You wonder, “Am I having a nightmare?” Pinching yourself, you discover that unfortunately you are fully awake. You come face to face with the mountain, size it up and conclude, “This mountain is way too high to climb, at least not alone.” You reluctantly accept the fact that this mountain is not going away. Almost in a state of shock you begin to assess your options.
Frustrated and overwhelmed, a solution pops into your mind. You can escape to a Caribbean isle. Immediately the voice of maturity reminds you that running away from life’s problems is a temporary solution. Real problems require real solutions. No one can escape life’s problems forever; eventually you must return and face the mountain. Avoidance only grows a small problem into a bigger one. Maybe this is why you are facing a mountain in the first place.
Before too long another solution surfaces: “I can call a friend!” You know that a true friend will listen intently, pray for you and give support. Thankfully you have a list of dependable friends always ready on speed dial. You thank the Lord that you have chosen friends who point you to Jesus.
Facing a mountain of grand size in life requires a well-thought-out plan. Think before you act. Foresight always trumps hindsight, hands down. Consider getting the advice of wise counsel. Go to your priest, your spiritual director, your parents, or a Titus II Woman. Look for a mentor who has left her footprints on the same mountain that is before you, but who has successfully conquered the mountain.
I used to tell women this, “Do you have a mountain before you that you cannot move? Cry out to God because He can move that mountain.” Tritely I would quote the words to a song, “God is mighty to save.” I would add with a smile, “Didn’t He part the Red Sea?” I believed those words with all my heart. I knew that our all-powerful God could easily pick up that mountain and move it to the sea because the Word of God says so.
As the years of my own life went by, I faced mountains of my own. I grew in wisdom and maturity. I learned that God does not always move that mountain. Sometimes He asks us to climb it. Why does God not move the mountain? God is trying to mature us by making us mountain climbers. Along the journey upward, Jesus is teaching, training and guiding us. He is bringing us to another place that we have not been before. Soon we will be able to face the mountains in life unafraid, like Caleb and Joshua faced the giants in the land.
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There are definitely times in our walk with Christ that He does not remove the mountain, no matter how hard we pray. Instead our Heavenly Daddy asks us to face the mountain and make the climb. He promises to be beside us each step of the way. Always begin the climb after fervent prayer to seek His face and to hear His voice. Then do whatever He tells you. Put your trust in Him alone. Take His hand, let Him guide you, and let Him hold you. He will never let you go. Sometimes climbing up the mountain will be harder than going down, other times the reverse is true. Once at the top of the mountain, the view will be clearer. Pause awhile before letting Jesus escort you down the mountain. Take notes, this is a journey you will not want to forget. Facing a mountain in life with God is a time of grace. It is a time of extreme closeness to God, even though the whole time you may feel far, far away.
When God asks us to climb a mountain with Him we can choose to give up and get bitter, or give in and get better. We always have the choice to come to Him or to keep going round and round the mountain. Your Heavenly Father is patient enough to wait on us.
Some of our favorite family vacations were trips west to the mountains. One particular trip stands out in my mind. We had seven close together, young children. Our baby was a very, very active two-year-old boy named Sean. Being good parents, we always buddied up. My husband (Patrick) and Sean were the team leading the way. Pat’s eyes were ever upon Sean. Sean willingly put his small toddler hand in his daddy’s strong one. They both looked straight at the steep mountain ahead of them and began the climb, confident and unafraid. I watched from the base of the mountain the father and son pair, in step with one another. They took the mountain in their stride. Reaching the top of the mountain, they proudly waved. I, of course, applauded, cheering them on. Their smiles exclaimed that the way up was easy.
The way down was another story. Sean, our late-in-life baby, seemed to be born to climb up mountains, swim seas, and jump off cliffs. He was fearless, not just that day, but every day. His middle name should have been “The Brave!” As they began the descent, one step at a time, my husband, Patrick, the poker-faced man, never let on that the path was slippery. Sure-footed Pat grasped Sean’s hand a little tighter. He was disguising the fear he was experiencing by displaying his boyish grin. Holding on for dear life to his active son, his daddy loved him too much to let him toddle away. They seemed to be traveling in slow motion placing one foot in front of each other until they made it down the mountain. My gaze was upon them until they were safe in my arms again. It was later that night that Pat admitted to me the danger before them, and the fatherly fear he felt while trying to protect his offspring. His love for his son gave him the ability to guide him down the treacherous terrain. His strong arms held on tight, in order to not let panic get a hold.
When I face a mountain in my life, this memory comes to mind. I picture Pat taking on the role of our Heavenly Father. I know that just as little Sean’s earthly father escorted him up the mountain and safely down again, my Heavenly Father will do the same. He always guides and protects us even carrying us when we face a trial. So when you face a mountain in your life do not be afraid to take the climb. By putting your small hand into the strong hand of our Everlasting Father, you can take the journey without fear. His arms will always be strong enough to hold you and escort you to safe ground.
Sean at two years old did not realize the danger he was in. He trusted his daddy to take care of him and keep him safe. Sean knew his daddy had his back and would keep him safe because he always did. We must climb the mountains in our lives with the same kind of confidence in God that Sean had in his dad.
There is never a good time for a mountain to rise up along the path of your life. If it does I encourage you to take the climb. Climb with all you might;, I promise it will be worth it. The view at the top will be breathtaking and well worth the effort exerted to get you to higher ground. Every mountain climber knows that the journey will be unforgettable, life changing, and add growth in both character, and maturity. Once conquered, it will be a personal victory. Soon you will be called upon by God to be a tour guide for others who are facing a mountain in their lives.
I have climbed many a mountain: postpartum depression, death of my eighth full-term baby (who had Trisomy 18), two miscarriages, death of three parents, a child going through a divorce, eight car accidents, living in chronic pain, a late in life child, a house flood, and parenting a sickly child. I am always amazed at the ways God uses me to hike beside another who feels they are all alone. They are never alone. God is ever near to the brokenhearted mountain climber as they ascend up the mountain and descend back down again.
Looking up toward the steep climb, rarely will you think you will make it to the top. You will never know unless you put on those hiking boots and begin the climb. Climb with all your might, but never let go of your “Abba” Daddy’s hand. There is life on the other side of that mountain. Embrace the challenge life has presented you. Look toward the horizon, and watch the sunset and then rise again through those grey clouds. “Weeping may come in the nighttime but oh what joy comes in the morning.” One breath of that mountain air will disperse the sadness. Don’t take my word for it; take the climb for yourself. Face every mountain with God. Always let the Son shine on your path then nothing can blind you from seeing the beautiful view ahead of you, not even a mountain.
Let God make you a mountain climber.
Copyright 2017 Ellen Mongan
About the Author
Ellen Mongan, a Catholic writer and speaker, has been married more than 40 years to Deacon Pat Mongan. They have 7 children and 12 grandchildren. Ellen is a host of WOW Radio Podcasts, a religious columnist for the Augusta Chronicle, and has spoken on both radio and television. She is the founder of Sisters in Christ, Little Pink Dress Ministry, and Women-Fests.