Monday, June 28, 2010

The Mountainside Experience

The coolness of the evening breeze could be felt as Isaac and I walked, both of us enjoying our special time together.  Looking out over the sea of people and campsites surrounding us, I listened as Isaac talked about the great time he was having at the Creation Festival.  It was our last night before returning home, so I was hoping to make it a really special evening for my son.  Little did I know that God had a wonderful teaching moment in store for the two of us.   

High upon the mountainside was an overlook, revealing the the beautiful valley below.  I knew Isaac would love it, so I grabbed his tiny hand and slowly led the way to the base of the trail, walking along side of him.  We hadn't walked very far when it occurred to me that it was begging to get dark and we had no flashlight.  So, I picked up the pace in hopes of making it to the top and back down before the trail was lost in the darkness.  But Isaac's little 4 year old legs just could not keep up with the quick pace I had set.  Frequently, we had to stop to give his legs time to rest and recuperate before attempting to climb higher up the trail.   

About half-way up the mountainside, the path was no longer visible to our eyes.  Darkness had set in, leaving only an occasional flickering of lights from the movement of other people's flashlights way up in the distance.  Although I didn't want to show it, I was scared.  We could not see anything surrounding us at all!  It was pitch black.

I was so afraid that I would lead my child to the cliffs' edge without even realizing it, or that Isaac would stumble on the rocky path in front of him, leaving him injured.  "Ahhh!  What was I thinking by bringing my young son up a mountain without a flashlight to lead us?"

I stopped moving and stood almost paralyzed on the mountainside, silently praying for help.  I could sense that Isaac was becoming afraid as well.  I squeezed his hand a little tighter, pulled him a little closer toward my body, and assured him that everything was going to be alright.  I am not quite sure how long the two of us were standing upon that dark mountainside alone, but it seemed like forever.  

Then out of the blue, two girls walked up behind us and noticed us standing there.  Without asking any questions, one of them walked over next to me and handed me her flashlight.  In that instant, a peace swept over me. Shining the light in front of us, I was overwhelmed with thankfulness for God's protection over us.

The path could clearly be seen now, exposing the unsteady ground, the cliffs, and the other dangers that seemed to lurk in the darkness.  I once again grabbed Isaac's hand and we slowly, but confidently made our way to the overlook at the top of the mountainside.  We stood for several moments on the platform admiring the beauty of the scene playing out below us as several hundreds of thousands of candles were being lit, followed by a chorus of voices, singing their praises to God.  It was a sight to behold.

On the walk back down the steep incline, with flashlight in hand, we had a wonderful conversation about how our experience of trying to walk up the steep incline of the mountainside without a flashlight, is very much like trying to live our lives in spiritual darkness without Christ.  It was very frightening not to have any light marking the path as we walked up the steep rocky path.  In the same way, without Jesus we are simply wandering around in the darkness, uncertain of what is ahead in our lives.
"I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness."  John 12:46
"The name of the LORD is a strong tower: the righteous run to it, and are safe." Proverbs 18:10
We then thought about all of the obstacles that we had to overcome to make it to the top of the mountain, such as the rocks and unlevel ground and the cliffs sitting upon the trails shoulder.  The flashlight clearly lit up the path in front of us; therefore, we didn't need to fear the things meant to cause us to stumble, for they were exposed by the light and could be avoided.
"Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life; you stretch out your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and your right hand delivers me."  Psalm 138:7
 And, we talked about how the flashlight is like the Bible, providing us with direction and wisdom.  Without the flashlight, we could have easily made a life-threatening step.  So it is without the Bible.
 "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. Psalm 119:105
 Although I wouldn't wish to repeat our journey up the steep mountain without a light directing us, I am thankful that God choose to use my foolishness in forgetting my flashlight to once again lovingly remind me and my precious son of our need for Him, in every circumstance, every day, at every moment in of our lives.

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