You have not come to a mountain that can be touched and that is burning with fire; to darkness, gloom and storm; to a trumpet blast or to such a voice speaking words that those who heard it begged that no further word be spoken to them, because they could not bear what was commanded: “If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned to death.” The sight was so terrifying that Moses said, “I am trembling with fear.”
But you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.
– Hebrews 12:18-24
“While God did not cause the problem, He can create a cause out of the problem. Are you choosing to climb the mountains that have fallen into your path, or are you allowing them to stop you from moving forward? Who knows what opportunities are just beyond your mountain or how many lives are waiting for you on the other side? There are lives that need to be inspired by your story.”
– Dan Stanford, Losing the Cape
About the photograph: I did a Bible study on Max Lucado’s book, Fearless, in the Video College of Biblical Knowledge, the Sunday school class that I taught with a lot of help from my wife – so she always got equal billing. The book cover for Lucado’s book has a boy, in fearless fashion, jumping into a lake from the end of an old wooden boat dock. The video series used the same boy in his swimming trunks, but there was one addition to his wardrobe – a blue and white striped towel, tied, or pinned, around his neck to form a cape, worthy of any super hero. My wife and I laughed when we first saw the video. We had an identical towel to the one used for the boy’s cape. (To Rev. Lucado, we know where your prop person goes shopping.) Yet, the photo shows this towel, folded and draped over the side of the laundry basket. It is no longer a cape. We rely on God, not our own powers.
When I was reading the paragraph that is quoted from Dan Stanford’s book, I thought of my wife. For those who do not read my blog every day or are new to the blog, my wife had open-heart surgery on 10 August. Before she was put under, the surgeon asked her what her goal was when she woke up. (I love that. He was giving her something to fight for.) She replied, “I have grandkids to go visit!” She had difficulty waking up after surgery. Double vision caused her to close her eyes, which caused her to drift off to sleep again. With the tube down her throat, she could not tell people what the problem was. I finally went home. The next day, she greeted me upon my arrival with, “I have fifteen years left, and you are not going to say ‘No.’ I prayed Hezekiah’s prayer. I have a limited time, so I do not want you wasting any of it.”
Since then, she found that it is not easy to recover from such major surgery. It is roughly three months since the surgery. She is relegated to the backseat of the car, away from frontal airbags to ensure her repaired ribcage is fully healed before getting in the front seat. Of course, that means no driving either. Her stamina has improved from walking to the other side of her bed in the hospital to walking around the wholesale warehouse store instead of driving the electric cart, after doing an hour of cardia rehab. At cardiac rehab, she does fifteen to twenty minutes on the treadmill and a lot of other exercises during her three-days per week program. And she hates missing a day. This new wife of mine is a lot different, but I love this one too. She has that beautiful soul that I have always loved, but she is now driven to become healthier, and she drags me along, also.
She has no need of pinning the towel to her shoulders for a cape. She has the One who is stronger than all superheroes combined in her freshly repaired heart.
In mid-August, my wife awoke from surgery and found two mountains in front of her. There was the mountain of fear that the Israelites knew would cause them to die if they simply touched it. All she had to do to reach that mountain was to do nothing. But there was another mountain. This mountain was a mountain of Love, Joy, and Hope. It’s a mountain with thousands of joyful angels singing. For my wife, her grandkids were on the other side, but there were others there too, and are there still. They were the ones that Stanford mentions – the ones waiting to hear her story.
I have heard preachers preach about climbing mountains. They would ask the congregation what you find when you reach the top? Their supplied answer was ‘another mountain to climb’. How boring! Of course, they are getting their answer from mountain climbers, who enjoy climbing. But for us normal folk, Stanford’s offering is a lot more tangible.
We have no idea who God has placed in our path, waiting to hear our story. So, what do we do? Do we wait for them to knock on the door? No. We keep telling out story.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.