Mountain Top Experiences, Part 6: The Mount
"And we know that all things work together for good
to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His
purpose." (Rom 8:28 NKJV)
As a child, I always wanted to climb Mt. Whitney, the
highest peak in the continental United States. And growing up in Southern
California and being part of a youth group that loved to backpack, it seemed
to me that my dream was attainable.
And then it happened: I was about 10 or 11 at the time, and our youth leader
was planning a 4 day climb. The goal? The peak of Mt. Whitney! At last my
dream would be realized!
My hopes were crushed, however, by my parents: "You are too young to go on
What???? Too young? My brother was going, and he was only 16 months older
The argument didn't fly with my parents. "He's also a boy. There won't be
any girls on this trip. No, you can't go!"
I argued, I cried, I did everything I knew to do to bend my parents, but
they wouldn't budge, and I was forced to stand by and watch my brother set
out to fulfill MY dream!
I haven't yet been given another opportunity to climb Mt. Whitney, but I
have to say that my parents were actually very giving when it came to
permission to climb. I was a literal mountain goat, and other than this one
time, they never tried to hold me back. In my childhood, I climbed Mt.
Baldy, Mt. Baden Powell, Mt. San Jacinto, and many, many others whose names
I don't even remember. They allowed me to go to summer camp for two weeks at
a time, where I was able to climb mountains to my heart's content, and the
Mt. Whitney trip was the ONLY backpacking trip attempted by our youth that I
wasn't allowed to participate in.
Were my parents "depriving" me when they told me I couldn't climb Mt.
Not at all. They were simply protecting me. I didn't see it at the time,
because to me they were just being mean and unfair. But I see it now. Would
something terrible have happened on that trip? I don't know. But they felt
that the odds of that happening were a bit higher than some of the many
trips they allowed me to go on, and they weren't ready to expose their only
daughter to such a risk. In the end, they didn't allow me to climb Mt.
Whitney because they loved and cared for me.
We, as humans, often know just what it is that we need to have a Mountain
Top experience. If we're in the valley of financial difficulties, we "need"
to have a raise or a promotion. Or maybe what we "need" is a job. If our
"valley" is chronic illness, we are sure that we "need" to be healed. If our
"valley" is family problems, then of course what we "need" is for our spouse
to return. Or maybe we "need" our teenage children to get better grades, or
we "need" our in-laws to move to a different continent!
But do we truly know what we "need"? As a child, I was sure I "needed" to
climb Mt. Whitney, and when it didn't happen, I was angry at my parents. But
I didn't "need" to climb Mt. Whitney. I grew up just as balanced and sane
without it, and in the process I got to experience numerous other wonderful
The point is, we are not all knowing, but God is. We don't always understand
why He allows us to remain in our valleys, but we can be sure of one thing:
He LOVES us more than we can even comprehend. He LOVES us with a pure,
unselfish love, one that sent Jesus to the cross so that a personal
relationship with Him could be possible!
Last Christmas I had the opportunity to take a helicopter to the top of Mt.
Cook, the highest peak in New Zealand. Imagine my disappointment when the
mountain was too covered in cloud and the winds too strong for the chopper
to fly! But God opened other doors of opportunity. As a result of missing
this trip, I was able to take a helicopter out to White Island, an active
volcano, and there experience a trip of a lifetime. I don't regret not being
able to touch the peak of Mt. Cook. The experience that this loss gave me
allowed me to do something else that was on my "dream" list, and I thank God
for the cloud and the wind that cloaked Mt. Cook.
Friends, let's stop wishing things were different. Instead, let's understand
that even if we don't get to climb the "mountain" we have chosen to climb,
it's because God has something BETTER in store for us!
But wait. Isn't there anything we can do to get ourselves OUT of the valley?
Join us next week for MOUNTAIN TOP EXPERIENCES, Part 7: Somewhere in the
In His love, Lyn
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,