Have you ever been in a place where you could almost feel God’s presence? Have you ever observed the magnificent creation around you and just knew that He did it all for you? For me, that place is the mountains. When I am surrounded by rugged, snow-capped peaks, breathing in that fresh, cold air, I am prompted, with the Psalmist, to say, “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:1-2, KJV).
Mountains hold a special place in my heart. I grew up in a narrow river valley, with farms nestled low against the water and steep mountainsides rising up on both sides. These weren’t just any mountains, either. Unlike the rolling hills that I’ve experienced in other areas, these mountains rise quickly. They are covered on every side with a forest of evergreens, and their treeless tips are capped in snow for most of the year.
As a child, I remember so many times that we climbed in the back of a pickup truck and drove as near to the top of one of these mountains as the treacherous logging roads would allow. Then we all piled out into the beautiful meadows and soaked in the warm sunshine and the smell of fresh grass before trudging up the trail towards the summit. As we climbed higher and higher, the air began to change. As the temperature cooled, the surroundings took on a certain stiffness, familiar only to alpine travellers. The trees became shorter and shorter, and the familiar flowers of the meadows gave way to tiny, delicate alpine varieties. Just before we reached the peak, the trees would disappear altogether, leaving ragged rocks iced with snowy caps and windswept views of the valleys below.
I can still remember to this day the feelings of awe and utter respect that would overtake me every time. I couldn’t help but believe that God had prepared these beautiful views for my enjoyment. I felt so secure in the fortresses of rock, so close to the presence of God. I was acutely aware of the majesty and power of a God who could create such awesome landscapes, and deeply touched by the love of such a God to take interest in ME.
I felt so secure in the fortresses of rock, so close to the presence of God.
I spent a few days last week camping in these beautiful mountains. We were stationed in a rustic cabin on the island of a mountain lake. On every side of the lake, the peaks rose majestically. As I sat in front of our cabin and soaked up the scenery, my mind wandered to the tumultuous times we are living in. The pandemic, political upheaval, and racial violence all seemed so out of touch in that secluded place. And then I remembered the words that were penned by inspiration so long ago:
“God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear,
Even though the earth be removed,
And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;
Though its waters roar and be troubled,
Though the mountains shake with its swelling.”
Psalm 46:1-3 NKJV
You see, God promises us that even if the most unmovable strongholds of this earth were ripped apart, even if the mountains around us were to crumble, He would still be our refuge. What an amazing promise! What a comforting thought! In this time of upheaval, when all around us is chaos and confusion, God is our strength and our help.
In this time of upheaval, when all around us is chaos and confusion, God is our strength and our help.
As these words sank into my consciousness, peace flooded over me. I don’t have to focus on the trouble around me. Instead, I can look to Christ, believing His promises and resting in His care and concern for me. Now, every time I look to the mountains around me, I am lifted above the strife and perplexity on earth, and my faith is planted on the solid Rock that will never be moved.
Do you want to have peace that is higher than the storm raging around you? Then look to Jesus. Lift your eyes up to the hills, and take hold of the help that comes from God! You will never be disappointed!