In 1996, a group of dedicated hikers decided to make the trek to the top of the world. Unbeknownst to the well-trained crew, a storm changed directions across the Himalayan range and arose from the abyss. Before the hikers had a chance to escape to one of the lower base camps, the horrific storm laid claim to many of their lives. This is one of many stories that support the statement that “The Mountain has the last word.”
Mt. Everest has the highest peak on Earth, measuring near 29,029 ft. above sea level. Just to give you an idea of the height, the highest point in Georgia is located on the top of Brasstown Bald, which stands at 4,784 ft. above sea level. Everest is more than six times taller than Brasstown Bald. The top of Everest almost summits out of our ozone layer.
After the base camps and a month of hiking, hikers come to what is called the Death Zone. This zone signifies the altitude in which 1/3 of the air’s oxygen is gone and it becomes very difficult to breathe. Fortunately, there are Sherpas (guides) that know all the techniques and the best way to get you to the top. Hiking independently is a choice some still make, most of which do not come down from the mountain.
With the thin air, frost-bitten skin, and rapid ascent to look upon; one must strap up, put one foot in front of the other, and rise to the biggest challenge of their life…to summit Mount Everest.
Undoubtedly, I can say that the stories and facts about Mt. Everest never get old. Many people fantasize climbing the mountain themselves, but never get the chance to.
Everest isn’t the only mountain there is to climb. In fact, life presents every person with plenty of mountains.
Often times, when we reach the foothills of problems in our life, we camp out there because we are afraid to tackle the problem. There are many of us who never leave the “base camp” and we never achieve what God has for us.
Others of us have the desire to achieve our goals, but do not know the proper steps in order to get there. We get lost along the way.
There are many different religious beliefs in the world. Most would have you believe that you need to climb that mountain in order to find God.
Like the mountain to be climbed, there are many obstacles to climb: addictions to let go of, matters of the heart to deal with, spiritual hang ups, and real life circumstances that we will all have to face. Challenges will always be in front of us, and many of us think we have to deal with this on our own…with no help. The truth is, God is not waiting at the top of the mountain for us to reach him by ourselves, but is walking in the midst of our lives, reaching out His hand to accompany us on our journey.
Jesus gives an account to this principle in Matthew 14:22-33 when His disciples were in the boat and the storm came bellowing through the sea. Peter rushed out to Jesus and sank into the midst of the stormy waters. Jesus immediately reached out His hand and caught Him.
What a Savior indeed. God doesn’t want us to fight our battles and climb new heights alone; we were never designed for that. God wants us to grow WITH Him. We will never achieve God’s purpose in our life and we will never grow to our full potential if we do not allow God to carry us up the mountain.
If you are climbing the mountain to find God, stop what you are doing. Instead, find God though our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and then climb the mountain with His help.
If you are a follower of Christ, be the guide that goes up the mountains that we have already climbed, for those who are climbing for the first time. Often times, we are too quick to jump on our “high roost” and bicker about what those around us are doing when in fact we have made the same mistakes in our own past. I see it all the time with both the youth and adults I work with and I catch myself doing this as well.
There was a time when you and I were weak and naive, and God sent guides in our life to help us stumble through the unchartered territories. Let us have patience and compassion for our youth of today, and let God use us to be the beacon of light for them.
We can encourage our students to press forward to better things instead of laying back at base camp, we can give them hope and assurance that there is victory on the other side of these challenges, and we can lead them the right way so they are not lost in the midst of storms and tragedy.
Let us lend a hand in God’s name, even if no one was there to help us. Let us be the victorious mountain climbers God has intended for us to be.
Isaac Redman is a 22-year-old youth pastor at Pleasant Grove Church. He is a servant of Christ and loves music and the outdoors.