By Michelle Velbis — Have you ever had a song make you gasp because the lyrics just seemed to be speaking right to you? Recently, I heard the song “Sometimes It Takes a Mountain” by the Gaither Vocal Band. The chorus says, “Your love is so much stronger than whatever troubles me. Sometimes it takes a mountain to trust you and believe.”
Do I need mountains in my life to be closer to Him? Do I believe God through the mountains of trials? Honestly, I feel like I have figuratively climbed Mt. Everest more than once. When someone recently asked me how my faith was being affected by the seemingly constant challenges, it gave me pause. What would my transparent answer be?
When I was younger, I asked God a lot of whys. I still do, and I believe He isn’t fazed by those questions, but now I find that I am asking myself, “What can I learn?”
“Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10, NLT.
One thing I think God continues to help me see is that I am not patient. As a teacher, I preach on a growth mindset, and yet I find myself struggling to grow in this area. From a father’s love, I think He patiently shows me that He wants me to live in the present and stop living at break-neck speed. As a doer, this is really difficult, but I am slowly learning that if I live life too fast, I miss so much of Him and the ways He wants to speak to me. I don’t know about you, but I have to climb the mountains in Colorado’s thin air very slowly. So maybe the mountains are to help me slow down.
“For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:9, NLT.
When I don’t get the answers that I want, do I still trust him? Well, I know that I usually throw an inward hissy fit first and try to use my persuasive skills on God about why my way is better. When I stop yelling and sit still (there is that being still part again), He calmly reassures me that His ways are better for me, even if it is uncomfortable. Creator of the Universe and Heavenly Father – his curriculum vitae alone should be enough to quiet my fears.
“I made you, and I will care for you. I will carry you along and save you.” Isaiah 46:4, NLT.
Another component to spiritual mountain climbing is to use a Sherpa. It’s a lot easier if you use one. Did you know that Sherpas can sometimes carry double their weight? Of course, our Creator can carry much more than that. And even when I mentally know that why is it so hard to let him carry my loads? In my case, it is often just pure stubbornness. I have this insane need to do things myself. Some psychoanalysis might reveal that I just don’t trust anyone else to do what needs to be done. Naturally, this is cause for exhaustion and burnout. This leads me back to being still and trusting Him. Lord, thank you for being patient with your headstrong child.
“Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18, NLT.
When I am struggling for every breath and my muscles are burning, the last thing I want to do while climbing a mountain is to thank the person who suggested the tortuous activity, that is until I get to the top. When I see the stunning and jaw-dropping views, I look at my friend and say, “Thank you.” I look back at the trail I just came up and know that, although it wasn’t easy, I am a much stronger and better person for the experience.
I think it is like my experience with God, and maybe I can even get to the point like Paul, where I praise Him during the trials. Because I know, without a doubt, the view from the top will be worth it.
–Michelle Velbis is principal at Springs Adventist Academy; photo by Rajmund Dabrowski