Shout your praises to GOD, everybody! Let loose and sing! Strike up the band! Round up an orchestra to play for GOD, Add on a hundred-voice choir. Feature trumpets and big trombones, Fill the air with praises to King GOD. Let the sea and its fish give a round of applause, with everything living on earth joining in. Let ocean breakers call out, “Encore!” And mountains harmonize the finale— A tribute to GOD when he comes, when he comes to set the earth right. He’ll straighten out the whole world, He’ll put the world right, and everyone in it. (Psalm 98:4-9 MSG)
Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song. For the Lord is the great God, the great King above all gods. In his hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to him. The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land. (Psalm 95:1-5 NIV)
Have you ever had one of those "life as I've known it is over” moments or thoughts? I have those days about once a week on average. But when I think about it I must answer that question with another question, "Is that such a bad thing?" There have certainly been some great things about my life in past years and some things that were not so great. So, let's put "life" in context.
Life is short, relatively speaking.
Life is brimming with opportunity, for those willing to work.
Life is filled with challenges, if you have a dream.
Life is full of peaks and valleys, we must be willing to climb.
Life brings both joy and sorrow, we must navigate both.
Bottom line, life is jammed-packed with surprises.
So, let's visit the old saying, "Life is what we make it." When you fall down do you get up? When you are criticized do you acquiesce to the criticism? When others fail in life do you assume that you too will fail? Is God ever really surprised by our successes and our failures? Failing in life is inevitable but not usually desirable even though we often learn more from our failures than we do our successes.
Will I allow one slip to cause me to slide?
The fact is that we all slip and we all fall. And, there will always be people yelling, from the base of our mountains, "stop climbing" or outside the ring of our fight screaming, "Stay down." Be careful, these are the voices of the mediocre. God says the opposite, “Though a righteous man falls seven times he rises again.”
Don’t interfere with good people’s lives; don’t try to get the best of them. No matter how many times you trip them up, God-loyal people don’t stay down long; Soon they’re up on their feet, while the wicked end up flat on their faces. (Proverbs 24:15, 16 MSG)
The measure of a man or woman is not whether or not they fall down but whether or not they get up. I will not measure my future by those who have gone before me, good or bad. If my fingerprints are different than everyone else's on earth then my journey is most likely unique as well. Don't get me wrong; I'm encouraged by other people's successes but their successes will not make me successful. I have to write my own success story. Do I really believe that with God all things are possible for me? If so, why? Is it because I believe in God, I believe in others or I believe in the God in ME? The latter for sure.
I don't know what my next mountain looks like. Is it important that I know? I don't think so. I just think that I need to prepare myself, condition my soul, and there won't be a mountain that I can't climb. Jesus died for me, not for the mountain so the mountain must surrender to my faith in action. The mountain is simply an object, and once conquered, will point to His strength in me. The greater the mountain, the greater the victory.
The difference is never found in the mountain, it's found in the people on the mountain.
Example. The famed Mount Everest has hardly changed throughout history. Oh, I'm sure that there has been some erosion and shifts but it's pretty much the same. So, why do some climbers make it and others don't? Is it the mountain's fault if a climber doesn't make it to the top? Should the mountain be credited with success for those climbers who do summit?
I would say that the best of climbers would say "no", the mountain is not the reason for my success. And, the worst of climbers would try and find an excuse to say "yes", it's the mountain's fault that I failed. What about weather conditions? The best climbers are "prepared". They are smarter and more prepared for whatever nature brings most of the time. Life is filled with beautiful mountain views just waiting to be explored. The problem is that many of us come to the base camps of these palisades broken and afraid to climb, especially those of us who have fallen a great distance.
Most of us have fallen off one or more cliffs in our previous attempts to ascend life's challenges and are shrouded with fears. If that’s you, you are not alone. There is not one human being that has a perfect record in life and is "fracture free." We are all held together by the rhapsody of God's poetic purpose to glorify Him. The ringing voices of climbers resounding throughout these towering ravines are music to God's ears. They echo trust in God as we attempt to summit our destinies. Our lives are really nothing but tattered scores from which God makes His beautiful music.
Every step toward our mountaintop places another integral note on the chord chart of His anthropological symphony.
As the psalmist stated, “Let ocean breakers call out, “Encore!” And mountains harmonize the finale— A tribute to GOD when he comes, When he comes to set the earth right”. Mountainous challenges are opportunities to those who will climb. They really are a part of the melody of man's existence and his battles. They prove God, not just in majesty but also in His deity, He is God. His power is in us to ascend the highest heights and overcome the largest obstacles life throws at us.
Mountains were created, by God, for us to enjoy the magnificence of their beauty only after we can appreciate the significance of their challenge. Keep on Climbing!