Mountain Top Experiences, Part 3: From the
Slopes of Gros Morn
"I came that they may have and enjoy life, and
have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows)." (John 10:10 AMP)
Last week, in MOUTAIN TOP EXPERIENCES, Part 2, we discovered that it is in
the "valleys" of life that we can best experience God's power. But didn't
Jesus say that He came to bring us life abundant? How can all of these
problems add up to an "abundant" life?
The summer of 2004 found my family on the northern peninsula of
Newfoundland, preparing to climb Gros Morn. Our vacation agenda included
hiking this 806 metre mountain, the highest peak in Eastern Canada, and
there we were, at 2:00 in the afternoon, with about half a litre of water
and a couple of oranges, setting out to fulfill our dream. Little did we
know that it is an 18.3 km trek, and little did we know that hikers are
advised to begin this climb in the morning to ensure adequate daylight, and
to take plenty of food and water!
Sometimes ignorance is bliss!
We had hiked about 4 km when we came to a fork in the trail. To the right
was a traditional path, winding around valleys and hills and meandering its
way for five kilometers before reaching the summit. To the left, a rocky
slope led straight up.
My husband, who had not yet developed his love of hiking, and our youngest
son, who was only 9 at the time, made the wise choice at this point: They
decided to return to the car and go for ice cream!
My older son, who, at age 11, was already a mountain goat at heart, turned
pleading eyes in my direction. I instantly knew that he would not willingly
return to the car.
Loath to break his heart, I stared at the two choices. The trail to the
right didn't look that rough, and it was only five kilometers to the top.
Maybe … But that also meant five kilometers back as well, plus the other
four we had already hiked, a total of fourteen more kilometers. There's no
way we could hike that far in the lingering hours of daylight!
Reluctantly my eyes went to the left. It would be a treacherous climb up all
those loose rocks, but I could see the summit, and it wasn't that far away!
"We can do it, mom!" Pleaded my son. "We'll be back long before dark!"
And so we set out, and after just a few moments of huffing and puffing, my
son and I crawled (literally!) To the top of the rise . . . Only to find . .
. Another path just as long, over just as loose of rock, and even steeper
than before, to a ridge high above! The "summit" we had seen from the valley
below wasn't the summit at all!
This pattern repeated itself several times, and it was nearly an hour later,
about 5:00 p.m., when we finally attained the top of Gros Morn. We were
exhausted, we had long ago used up our water, and the only quick way down
was to sit on our bottoms and "slide" down those loose rocks. Not a very
Of course, there was always that other way, the little meandering trail that
threaded its way down the mountain for five kilometers …
Needless to say, we took the "long way home", but we did it in record time.
The entire hike took us only 5½ hours, and we were back at the car long
Abundant life. Does it mean a nice little well-manicured trail that wanders
through quiet woods, beside a cool, calm spring?
Friends, I've been over plenty of trails like this, and often they do lead
to beautiful places. But any time I've ever tried to attain a mountain peak,
the trail, when it exists, is steep, rocky, slippery, and, often enough,
Is it worth it?
All I can say is this: It isn't the view from the top of the mountain that I
find exhilarating. It's the fact that I've overcome steep trails and
slippery slopes! It's the fact that I've persevered over rock and crag! It's
the thrill of the climb that makes the view from the top all the more
It's the same in life. Abundant life doesn't mean a
life without problems. Rather, the mountain top experiences are made all the
more precious by the fact that we've had to overcome those problems! That
we've had to rely on God to get us through the valleys! Only then can
we truly appreciate our mountain tops!
Yes, Jesus did say He came to give us abundant life. But He didn't say that
abundant life meant a life without problems. He simply said that it would be
a full, overflowing life. Abundant life comes from relying on Jesus, not to
take all of our problems away, but to carry us through them! Friends, with
Jesus at our side, abundant life IS the climb!
So the next time we find ourselves in a "valley" experience, let's not wish
away our problems. Instead, let's rely on Jesus to get us through. Then and
only then will we experience true "abundance" in life, and only then will we
fully appreciate the next mountain top!
Okay, that may be all fine and good. But really. Why do I have to spend most
of my life in the valley? I mean, I don't think I've been on a mountain top
yet! Why, why, WHY???
If you can relate, then join us next week for MOUNTAIN TOP EXPERIENCES, Part
4: Climbing Mt. Washington.
In His love,
Lyn Chaffart, Speech-Language
Pathologist, mother of two teens, Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a
tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to
Christian devotionals and inspirational poems,
with Answers2Prayer Ministries,