“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
to the house of the God of Jacob,
that he may teach us his ways
and that we may walk in his paths…
O house of Jacob,
come, let us walk
in the light of the Lord.”
– Isaiah 2
The universe is a metaphor, a beautiful stanza trying to describe the indescribable. Galaxies, oceans, you and me. Why else would we be so fascinated with pinholes of light in the night sky if it were not that they point to someone much brighter, much more brilliant. We were made to be ravished by beauty, to be able to experience God himself in all that he made around us and in us.
One of my favorite metaphors to be overtaken by is God as a mountain. Words like massive, dangerous, and awe-inspiring come to mind. Mountains are truly one of the great natural wonders of our world. They are so entirely colossal yet any human being instinctively knows that the summit, the smallest part of the mountain, is where they need to be, where they were born to go. We all know that we were meant to navigate to that one point. No one had to figure out what we were supposed to do with these terrestrial giants. What we do struggle with, though, is getting there.
It’s pretty obvious that we can now make it to the summit of any mountain on this planet. Man has climbed Mount Everest and now we don’t really need to climb because we can fly. But God’s mountain is not like these on earth. It’s not small like these here. It’s unnavigable. It’s untamable. No, God’s mountain is on such a high caliber that it’s like comparing Kilimanjaro to an ant hill. Yet, Isaiah beckons us to go up the mountain, to trek on with him. I don’t know about you but that sounds like an adventure to me.
And it’s exciting to start an adventure, right? Those first moments of strapping on your boots, buying flowers for that girl, putting on a tie for that first real job; it’s energizing. It echoes in the caverns of your soul, subtly telling you that you are truly alive. You are using this earth suit for what it was meant to do.
But then the work starts. The fireworks end. The hoots and hollers of those at the starting line fade into the gasps for breath and heavy pulsating of your heart. The thought that maybe you’re not cut out for this journey starts to grow inside you mind. You stumble and fall. Your boots are bloody and your arms bruised. You used to be so sure of your place on the Mountain but a heavy fog settles in and now, you aren’t so sure. The grandiose and beautiful peaks disappear into white nothingness. With the fog comes a sickening feeling that you are all alone. So, underneath all of this, in the midst of the apathy and ambiguity, while experiencing the pain of past wounds and the isolated emptiness of the present, you sit. You can’t really do anything else because you are simply overwhelmed. So you sit. And maybe even cry.
But it’s moments like these, moments when your heart has been drained and your mind overwhelmed, where you can feel the sweetest and softest zephyrs of grace. And on that mighty Mountain, among the rock and dirt, within the grand shadow, you feel this warm breeze. In that moment, pain is still pain, and the summit is still miles away but it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter because you are being held by the strongest and most intimate love. It is as if the Mountain itself, in all of its’ grandeur and glory, became flesh and wrapped His arms around you. And now it’s not as if that happened because you can see Him and feel Him and hear Him. Like a Father beckoning his son or daughter, he asks with a gentle smile, “Would you come with me? It’s going to be wild but it’s going to be great.” And with that, you are off again. The wounds still sting, the fog still shrouds you, and the path is still steep. But nothing is the same as it was. No, nothing is the same. So you stick as close to Him as you can. You talk with Him about where you are going and laugh about where you’ve been. Step by step you get closer. Closer to Him, closer to the summit.