I will go before you
and will level the mountains; ….(Is 45:2).
A few years ago I was on an adventure in the land of Israel. We explored and experienced new biblical sites everyday. One day, our bus pulled up to the desert fortress of Masada. Our director wanted us to have the full experience of what Jesus’ followers would have experienced in the first century, so instead of taking the plush cableway ride up the mountain, we walked the 700 foot winding snakes path in the blazing desert sun. The trek took us nearly an hour and a half to complete. By the end of it I thought someone had shot my legs with needles, lodging them deep into my calf muscles as they shouted with excruciating pain at me with every step I took towards the top.
Eventually, I made it to the top, and the climb, albeit difficult, gruesome and laborious was well worth it. The sense of accomplishment I felt as I took my last step was extremely rewarding and life giving.
Often times in life we view our present challenges as a deep and dark mountain to climb. However, there’s something about the power of God that can take even the steepest of Masada’s and level them out with His love, grace and peace. This doesn’t mean the whole climb is level. God asks us to keep climbing and as we do, His grace meets us there.
As I was climbing Masada, I’ll be honest, I had a hard time keeping my thoughts on the proper perspective. It was much too easy to focus on what was bad about the climb instead of what was good. For example, I focused on the fact that my calves felt like a blazing furnace instead of thinking about how at the end of the climb I was strengthening my calf muscles. Who knows, maybe thanks to the arduous climb I could have gotten a calf modeling contract? Ok, probably not, but the point is that the difficulty of our climb will be determined by our perspective to see the hand of God at work or not.
Masada strengthened my resolve, it taught me how to persevere and not give up. It taught me the reward of hard work. The same is true of our difficulties in life. God places them before us not to punish us nor to weary us, but to grow, strengthen and build our faith. He levels out the climb when we start believing in His greatness apart from our seemingly difficult circumstances.
As I was listening to a Beth Moore sermon the other day she said something like, “The devils plan is not to destroy our health, job, marriages, relationships and finances. HIs plan is to destroy our faith.”
When the devil can weaken our faith, the mountain gets a bit steeper and the climb towards the top of believing God for the healing of our health, relationships and the like seems impossible. It is our faith in the Lord Jesus that lessons the severity of the climb. It is our faith that keeps our eyes set upon our victory in Jesus Christ.
Jesus, you are the goal of our faith. You can flatten our worries. You can make all things new. Jesus, you are the joy of my heart. When the climb seems impossible, that’s just the devil. Lord, he cannot destroy our faith, because you are a mighty God. We trust you, in Jesus name.