Sometimes God makes us climb mountains to teach us a lesson. Those can be mountains of life, like circumstances or struggles you may go through, and sometimes—like in my case—a literal mountain.
On a day off, some members of my team and I decided to go on a night hike. We started around 8 p.m. on what we thought would be a short, easy hike. As we started climbing, we quickly ran into a very steep incline. We passed a few people and asked “Are we almost there?”
They looked at us, slightly concerned, and said, “Uh, not even close.”
We laughed nervously, half hoping they were kidding and half realizing they weren’t. “The view is worth it, though, keep going!”
It was a bit past 9 p.m. at that point, so we decided to keep going and make our turnaround time 10:30. The farther we went, the steeper and rockier it got. At that point, I was a little scared. Scared it would get dark. Scared I was going to get eaten by a bear. Scared of the million other terrible scenarios I had created in my head. We were determined, though, and I wasn’t getting left behind; so I just put one foot in front of the other and thanked the Lord that Alaska was home of the midnight sun.
It was our turnaround time when we finally reached the tree line. We all looked up at the view there, and there was a silent mutual agreement that this would not be the end and we had to keep going. So with one foot in front of the other, we kept trekking and despite the warning bells going off in my head of the probability of bears and the inevitability of the sun going down, I was determined more than ever to reach the top. It was almost 11 when we saw the final peak; and as we reached the top, the sun began to set between the mountains and the clouds. Eight people stood in complete silence as we looked around at the most beautiful view that I have ever seen. We stood in complete awe. I had tears in my eyes it was so beautiful. As I sat on that mountain top, I realized a few things.
I was 100% not worthy of this call to Alaska, but Jesus takes the unworthy like me and uses them to show us His glory and power. He joyfully uses me and created sunsets and mountain tops and beautiful friendships because He loves us. That’s it. It’s nothing about me or my abilities or how great I am. He just simply delights in showing us His goodness. And while I was there trying to put the gospel into words for people, He was showing me 10 times over just how much He loves me.
Life is going to be filled with mountains to climb. Sometimes you’re going to be on your hands and knees, scaling rocks. And other times it’s going to be a stroll on flat ground. Sometimes all you are going to be able to do is look at your feet on the ground as you put one foot in front of the other, and other times you’ll get a glimpse over the tree line at what is to come. But eventually you’re going to reach the top, and all of the struggle and pain and fear and tiredness that got you there is going to be replaced by the beautiful thing that God has in store for you.
Finally, He is never ever going to leave you alone. I could not have climbed that mountain without the seven people who were with me. We had each other’s backs; we laughed; and we cried a little bit. When fear started creeping in, they never failed to remind me we were going to be okay because we were together. We sang together, and we reached the top together. We celebrated at the bottom together, and we made a victory McDonald’s run at 2 a.m. together. God doesn’t make us climb these mountains alone. He gives us family in Christ; and above all, He gives us Himself.
My summer in Alaska taught me a lot of things. One of the most important things I learned is that Jesus just wants our faith. He wants us to believe He is who He says he is and that He can do anything. I’ve spent a lot of my life knowing Jesus, but this summer made me really begin to understand a lot more about what trusting Him at His word really looks like. He doesn’t say we have to go to church every Sunday or have our lives perfectly together. He doesn’t say we have to memorize the perfect Gospel presentation or that we have to say all the right things. He tells us in John 11 that all we have to do is believe and we will see the glory of God.
That hike on Bird Ridge gave me a glimpse at what that glory looks like.
Keep going friends; the view is worth it.