He puts forth his hand on the flinty rock, and he overturns the mountains by the roots. (Job 28:9 WEB)
Everyone knows Heidi. She’s that famous Swiss girl epitomized in story and portrayed by many a cute young actress. When we first visited Switzerland I thought I would be on the lookout for Heidi and Peter. I figured they were living somewhere up on the mountain in a beautiful little chalet. When I finally spotted an elderly couple, rocking on their porch, I thought, “Heidi didn’t age well.”
During our trip we shared a small cottage with another family. High up on the mountain side each morning we would revel in the spectacular view from our windows of the surrounding mountain ranges. We relaxed, walked the many trails, played games, sang songs and enjoyed ourselves.
For several days my wife Beth and her friend Clarice kept talking about climbing the final 600 meters behind the cabin to the peak. I figured 1700 meters was high enough, why bother with the last few hundred. We surveyed the sharp incline and thought it might be too much.
“We can go this way,” Beth said pointing to one section on the right.
“Too steep,” I replied. They tried then returned and agreed it was indeed too steep.
“We can go that way,” offered Clarice pointing to the left.
“Still too steep,” I answered after a brief look. They tried and then returned and agreed it was indeed too steep.
About the third day Beth noticed the cows half way up the mountain. She figured if Swiss cows could climb it then American ladies could conquer the imposing sight. Next thing I knew the two of them along with the older children were headed across the pasture to reach the summit. Phil and I waved goodbye, kept the youngest with us, shook our heads, and wondered if we would ever see them again.
They reached the cows and stopped to rest. Clarice and her daughters were suddenly disturbed. Although they were from Texas they had never experienced cows at such close quarters. When the beasts inspected their packs, canteens and snacks things were a little crazy. Beth and the boys shooed the bell clanging cows away and the journey continued.
We watched them weave back and forth up the mountain looking for the right trail. From cow level up hands and feet worked together to make progress. Eventually they became little dots approaching the summit. They made it. They rose above our doubts and conquered the peak. They disappeared over the top and we waited for their return.
At the top one of the young ladies looked down the sharp steep wall they had just climbed. She was at the top of the world. She had conquered the challenging mountain face. All she needed to do was descend and share her achievement with the rest of the family. Then fear took hold. With tears she flatly refused to descend
Eventually our son Joel discovered a trail around the back of the mountain. They worked their way around the peak, down the trail, onto a road, and back to our cabin. The conquering heroes had returned. They had only a few injuries along the way to add excitement and color to their tale. The young lady taken with fear at the summit was glad to be back on flat, secure and familiar ground.
Christians experience valleys and mountains. Sometimes we try routes which are too steep. At times we find just the right trail. We struggle. We deal with the unexpected along the way. Then reach the goal.
We reach the goal, look back, and wonder how we made it to the end. Fear takes hold and the next step is too difficult to undertake. We look up, see our father calling, survey the terrain and undertake the challenge. God guides, strengthens and protects as we weave our way to the wonder of His majesty.