We spent an amazing Sunday in the mountains. One of the things the Lord has been whispering to me this year has been to rest, to really rest once a week. So, I’ve been trying to do activities on Sunday that rejuvenate rather than deplete.
We all come to God in different ways, and many of us experience Him through certain spiritual pathways. Mine happen to be through nature and art. Last week I spent time working on a wee journal, making beauty from blank pages. My first page had to do with the two dueling parts of me called rest and stress. Just creating something of (relative) beauty in response to Scripture connected me with the Lord.
Then yesterday we went to Griolieres de Neige, a ski resort of sorts about an hour away from our home into the mountains. The view was amazing. Every step higher brought better vistas. That’s when the Lord said, “The higher you climb, the better the view.” I thought about that quite a bit. I realized all at once that God was speaking to me not just about that day’s hike, but about the spiritual journey we are all on.
The journey with Jesus is an upward climb. Sometimes we walk through pristine valleys where pasture and quiet greet us. Other times we’re clinging to a craggy face. Sometimes we’re sloughing through a seemingly endless bog, sogging our soles and our souls. There are times we’re so winded all we can do is sit on a rock and rest. Sometimes we live with blisters and every time we walk, we’re tormented by pain. But like C.S. Lewis writes in the The Last Battle, we are to ever walk onward and upward because the higher we climb, the better the view.
Someone somewhere has sold us a bill of goods. Echoes of advice swirl through us–errant sentences like, “Once you become a Christian, you’re life gets easy.” Or “It’s so easy to become a Christian, just repeat these words.” Or “Jesus promises you an easy life.” Not true. The truth is that following Jesus is a call to die, which, paradoxically, is a call to real life. Many of us prefer to believe the other truths, that walking with Christ should be a cake walk, and we prefer to picnic in the valley.
But we see better views the more we hike through the journey. The more we sacrifice, the more our souls grow, stretch. The more we learn selflessness, the more we feel God’s presence inside. The more we slay the dragons of me-me-me, the better the communion we have with God.
It’s a journey. Onward and upward. And the higher we dare to climb, scary as that is, the better we see life. The better we see Jesus.
I don’t know about you, but I’d rather suffer the blisters and the heartache if it meant seeing life and Jesus more clearly.