Acknowledge and take to heart this day that the Lord is God in heaven above and on the earth below. There is no other. (Deuteronomy 4:39)
For some reason, despite my increasingly selective memory, I can remember every single moment in my life when I have stood on top of a mountain or a hill. I cannot always remember the view, or exact location or year, but I always remember the feeling and the company. It would seem now in retrospect that these occasions rarely occur with people you do not like or do not know well.
Perhaps we connect with these people on a deeper level once we arrive at our destination. Perhaps we only attempt such expeditions with people we can stand to be with for a length of time. Or perhaps, without prior knowledge, we somehow could see that by spending this time amongst nature, and by surveying such an exhilarating view, we would seal that memory forever and make those persons with us a part of our life experience.
Some walks have been more memorable than others of course; difficult terrain and weather have a wonderful way of being easily recalled and imprinted in ones mind. The ache of your muscles as you climb and the ache of your limbs hours later are welcome signs that you gave a good effort, and they confirm that real life runs through your blood and bones.
I’ve never climbed Mount Sinai, but a friend of mine has. As she related her experience of the heat, camel ride and limited water supplies, I felt insignificant. One intuitively knows that a landscape so rugged and with such a history would certainly leave you in awe of creation.
God spoke to Moses out of that mountain, albeit through billowing smoke, fire and earthquakes. When Moses returned from his expedition, his face shined so bright he was forced to wear a veil to cover the after affects of witnessing the glory and presence of God. In Scripture, this mountain grows in its legend as the place where God showed up.
Just as God spoke out of the mountain at Sinai, I believe He still speaks to those who venture into nature and at times, the wilderness. Whether alone or with friends, few can deny that when they stand on top of a mountain they are overwhelmed with the question, “Who is there like You?”
There are numerous such places and numerous such moments. Whether volcanoes, earthquakes, huge mountain ranges or the glaciers and geysers of Iceland, all of these are magnificent displays of His might and strength.
So when you next make arrangements to go walking or climbing with that friend you can’t wait to spend time with, do not be surprised when your conversations at the summit go deeper and you feel your mind broadening. It’s God’s way of speaking, teaching and making room for you to hear from Him.
God, reveal Your bigness to me – in forests, mountains, lakes, prairie fields. Reveal to me my own smallness. Speak. Give me the ability to hear You and understand You.