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If the Mountain Was Smooth

I heard a quote attributed to a southern black woman, If the mountain was smooth, you wouldn’t be able to climb it. Mountains are beautiful to look at. Many people are content to sit and view a mountain. I know I have had several opportunities where viewing a mountain was all the inspiration I needed.

But there have been times in my life when I have actually had the opportunityto hike a mountain (I do not, technically, climb them). Now, that’s a totallydifferent experience. When you climb the mountain you make discoveries you couldnever know by viewing the mountain from the distance. You become intimate withthe vegetation and creatures living there, and even experience a different temperature.You might discover a hidden stream or waterfall. Climbing a mountain calls formore resources from your body, mind, and soul. This woman is right—if themountain were smooth you could still enjoy its beauty, but you would miss outon its mystery.

Smooth lives are like that too. They are surely nice to experience every oncein a while. I know it feels good to have a break and experience smooth sailingwhen everyone is safe and sound and healthy. I don’t think there is anyonereading this devotion who isn’t hoping for a life like that. It’sthose rugged times that take so many more spiritual resources from our bodies,minds, and souls. It is only through rugged terrain that you can climb a mountain,and it is only through rough times that you can climb higher spiritually. James1:2-3 says, Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials ofmany kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Climbingmountains develops your body, mind, and soul in the same way walking throughdifficult spiritual terrain develops your spiritual life.

Mountains display the beauty of God’s creation and help us look higherthan our regular living. Jesus spent much time praying and teaching on mountains.All the world is drawn to mountains to behold their beauty. Mountains almostseem to point us to heaven and to God. Many spiritual writers have used the metaphorof climbing a mountain to describe the experience of growing closer to God. Mountainsinspire us to aim higher, to become better, and to get closer to God.

The journey up a mountain is enticing. It is also rough. It is meant to be rough.Don’t turn back when it feels too hard to proceed. Sit down and rest, callupon God’s strength to sustain you. Be joyful about the way you are growingspiritually through the hard journey. Be grateful that the mountain is roughbecause if it were smooth you would not be able to climb it.

Copyright © 2008. Deborah R. Newman. All Rights Reserved


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