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Like a Mountain His Righteousness


“Oh how high would I climb mountains, if the mountains were where You hide. Oh how far I’d scale the valleys if You graced the other side (Hillsong United - Highlands).” We did it. 14’ers are no joke. Higher altitudes, less breathable oxygen, possibility of altitude sickness, crazy terrain, cliffs, scorching sun, no shade, rocky paths, that was Mt. Sherman. As we ascended the mountain there were definitely moments where I felt a little anxious. I thought to myself, “you know I didn’t need to go all the way.” The climb was very steep, narrow, and very rocky. But the friends hopeful and faithful as ever have that God-given grit!

We made it. Safe and sound, and celebrated all 73 members of our group including children who all summited that mountain. After all the pictures I sat quietly and gazed. I gazed at the vastness of the scene. Gazed at the height of where I was sitting. Gazed into the clouds, into the cities, into the green meadows and lakes that could be seen. Other than an airplane ride, I was higher on this earth than I have ever been. You can say I was halfway-up Mount Everest haha!

Every mountain I am blessed to summit, I get to reflect and ponder not just my own experience but the experience of my friends. I saw my friend conquer her fear of heights. Her first hike was this mountain 14er wow! I saw a father of 9 kids anchor and carry me all the way up the mountain and down. I saw multiple families summit the mountain with their entire families which included kids under the age of 5. I saw some of my friends get attitude sickness, but powered through, summited and then made it back down the mountain sick but still relentless and accomplished. I saw a young teenage girl become the grit and encouragement for a lady, guiding the path of this lady every step of the way. I saw a mother of 2 and a mother one 1 put my man-made carriage on their shoulders and helped march me down the mountain. I saw friends who became like brothers and sisters refusing to quit, refusing to get tired, refusing to worry about themselves. Even with an ACL injury, one of my buddies still powered through his pain to help carry me all the way. I saw friends hike slower to make sure everyone made it. I saw friends hike slower to make sure no one was left behind. I saw friends hike slower to make sure no one felt like they were too slow or the last ones to finish.

As I watched these scenes unfold in my carrier I caught glimpses, an experience of what I believe the church of Christ can be. A safe haven, a place of hope and faith, of prayer and love. A place of unity where there is no judgement or condemnation, where there is no shaming and isolation, but a place where people encourage others no matter one’s creed or background. A place where everyone is willing to sacrifice and give. A place where we are willing to wait for others. A place where our backs are built different because of Jesus so we are ready and willing to carry others. A place where all can come freely and choose to seek the Savior who is full of grace and truth (John 1:14). And not just a place but more so I saw a people.

And that’s why I love F5. Not just because of the adventures we go on but because of what it stands for and the people that are part of it. I think often times many of us will search for a community filled with authenticity and grace. Why? Because we were made in such a way. We were made to shoulder each others burdens and share each other’s joys. We were made to lighten the load of the oppressed, and set captives free whether their bondages is emotional, physical, mental, spiritual, or all of the above.

As I see so many people who have their own struggles in life, many people who have been hurt and/or have been through trauma, many people who have a uniquely beautiful story to tell, I am grateful to be able to call them friends and family. Making it up the mountain without these people would be rather dull and so underwhelming. But being able to do it with all with them, to see some overcome fear, to see some challenge him/herself, to see some serve, to see some conquer their struggles, this was a sight to behold. This was bliss. This is what I imagine Heaven will be like one day in the not so far future. The goal is not just to make it there, but to make it there with others especially friends and families and to hear their stories, to hear their testimonies of what Jesus has done and will continue to do in their lives.

Soaking up every minute on that mountain brought me back to one moment. No matter how many mountains you and I get to climb, the views we get to see, the joys we get to experience, there is only one mountain that truly matters. There is only one mountain that counts. There is only one mountain where a single individual had to climb alone, forgotten, shamed, struggling, with the heaviest load ever carried and He did so without a single word of encouragement. He did so without a single friend there for help. He did so hearing the voices of hate, discouragement, and disdain. He did it without hesitation, without regard for self, without a single doubt in His mind. He did it because “God is love (1 John 4:8) and love “always protects, always trust, always hopes, always perseveres(1 Corinthians 13:7).”

That one mountain summited on that fateful day would allow you and I to forever be saved if we accept Him and believe. As King David writes in Psalms 36:6, “Thy righteousness is like a mighty mountain.” For me, whenever I get carried up a mountain, or simply get to see a mountain, I get to truly learn, appreciate, and experience the righteousness of Jesus. It is ONLY by His righteousness that we have life eternal. So thank you F5, for giving me opportunities to experience Christ on a deeper level than before, and thank you to all those who are the hands and feet of Jesus for others and for me the least of these.

I close with a word of hope for those whose energy and strength are waning. I like remind myself daily to keep fighting on. One of my favorites Biblical texts that I cherish dearly is the letter Paul writes to the Corinthians. In 2 Corinthians 4:16 Paul encourages the people with a simple but powerful phrase, “Do not lose heart. Though the outward man is perishing, yet the inner man is renewed day by day.” As my own physical body deteriorates, it is experiences like these that renew the inner man in me. As the hymn says, “Day by day and with each passing moment, strength I find to meet my sorrows here. Trusting in my Father’s wise bestowment. I’ve no cause for weary or for fear.” Therefore, I will continue to praise and serve Him whether I am on the top of the mountain, or in the lowest of valleys. I hope you will too.


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