We just got back from our crazy road trip, and were lucky enough that part of the adventure was spent in the mountains. For some people mountains are part of their everyday life, a typical geographical feature as common as trees, highways, or if in Texas, armadillo roadkill. But this is not my experience. These tall protrusions of the earth’s crust are novel, awning, and rare sitings for our family.
While driving or visiting these regions we never get used to the views and shout every 5 minutes “look look!” Requiring the other to look out at our view of the slightly different formations. It feels like we are sitting in the presence of giants.
Have you ever had this experience, whether you were hiking, driving, or even flying over head? The experience where you try your best to keep your head up the whole time because you don’t want to miss anything. The experience where you look around and the size of the mountains makes you look straight up as they reach in to the skies. I suppose, for you, this post could be “The Wisdom of the Forests,” or prairie land, or desert even. But for me, it is the mountains.
When in the mountains I feel my ears and my heart open up a little more. The mountains make me wonder, pray, and search. In my limited time, these are some of the pieces of wisdom that the colossal peaks have shared.
“Take your call into this glorious creation”
It is easy to see God’s glory in the structure of the mountains. To think about the time and physics that went into creating the planet and specifically these landforms. To see God’s glory as the sun rises over the eastern peaks or water falls from tall rocks. But often it is not easy to see ourself in the same light as these magnificent pieces of the created world. I am called to glorify God the way these places do. I have to stop rebelling from my created purpose of glory. Can you image the mountains rebelling? I need to take, and claim, my place within creation just as this mountain scene does.
“Find this glory in the people around you”
As glorious as the mountains, tall trees, large valleys, and wildflowers are God has made every person more glorious than these things (Matthew 6:26). I have been charged with the mission to see this in the people around me at work, home, and in passing. This is so crucial for me, I have to see that God’s crowning creation in humanity is truly just as aweing as each unique peak. I do not want to be desensitized by the messiness of humans, that I miss their place in creation. Oh how life might be different if I awed at God’s creation in my peers?
“Untainted but not unchanged”
When looking out at vast mountains, I can’t help but think that there are pieces of land that have yet to be seen or touched by anyone. The scene looks so untainted by the world. In the forgiveness of Christ we are made completely perfect in righteousness. God does not just brush your sin off you, instead he creates you a new, makes you completely untainted. Even brokenness can be created into an untainted glory. But as the mountains show us, this does not mean that we are unchanged. The mountains, in all their untainted glory, are constantly changing. A rock shifting and cracking, leaves falling in autumn, slowly growing taller with the movement of tectonic plates. In forgiveness we are made untainted, but we are not unchanged by the things that have broken us.
“Rejoice in the little things”
Rejoice in the small things along the way. The little feats, joys, mountains, and beauties. Rejoice in these small things, but know three are many more things still to come. There will be more uphill and more beauty.
“Erosion creates beautiful things”
Erosion is a tough action. It rips, crumbles, and tears down. Its no pillow fight. But just glance at the mountains to see the beautiful things erosion creates. Its by the stripes not despite them that the beauty is made. Erosion can come in many forms, sometimes, it takes place with a treacherous rock slide and in others a calm river. This carving away and moving of what feels like immovable pieces of stone is often a slow process.
“Bring this kind of peaceful, perfect, unquestionably beautiful kingdom back down the mountain”
These moments, this beauty, this story of the gospel needs to be my souvenir, it needs to come down with me. It is not reserved for the high altitude alone. The beauty of the mountains makes most every person want to charge right in, so how do I cultivate the true kingdom that, like the mountains, provides beauty and peace that invites and inspires others in? Often I fear that if I bring the good news, it will be destructive, dividing, or push people away. This is far from what the mountains do, what God’s creation is. The pressure is often, I don’t have to create the mountains, the kingdom of heaven is already there in my daily life, it is just being covered up by the temporary things of this world. I instead, need to poke holes in to it, push away the fog, and share it with others. To truly press in!
Oh but as a bonus… some quotes for you.
Enjoy these quotes about mountains from the bible, St. Augustin of Hippo, Pope Pius XI, Wendell Berry, and Dr. Seuss. You are welcome to use them for your personal use. If possible credit back where you got them from.