I drove up to the Blue Ridge Parkway and was the first one to hit the trail on a mountain that I’ve been meaning to climb for years now but never have. It was a long hike and colder than I thought it would be. I hiked in the silence of the morning with only the sound of bird song. After around two miles I came to an outcropping that was called Cross Rock – an apt name for a place to meet with God.
I climbed up on the boulders that revealed a stunning view of mountain ranges and valleys that stretched for miles around. I could hear the low, distant hum of logging machinery in the distance. The trees were in transition – some of them celebrating Spring already with their bright green foliage but many still stood barren and naked, the memory of Winter still gripping them.
I had started my hike wanting answers to situations weighing on my heart. I wanted clear guidance and resolution but instead I found my own self-absorbed thoughts lost in God’s creation and suddenly it was clear to me that there were no answers – only God sustaining me. I needed to lay my frantic unbelief down. I sat, with notebook and pen as I fell into a kind of song or prophecy or word that comes silently up on a mountain – a word I needed, to remember humility before God, and to renew trust in His care – and to ultimately have a perspective that sees eternal purpose beyond my own time:
Go up on a tall mountain,
like where your ancestors
once sacrificed to idols
and learn that you are nothing.
Rip out your pride
like a discarded garment
and sacrifice it there.
Learn that you are nothing
and that God, your Creator,
holds you and all creation
in a firm grasp.
Come down from that mountain
knowing even giant trees fall.
Even massive boulders split.
It is the small persistent things
that have power:
microscopic bacteria, the tiny bug,
they bring down tall trees.
The rain drop that becomes a stream,
that finds it’s way into a crevice
and is heated by the sun within a rock
– that breaks the rock in two.
Learn that you are hemmed in by God.
Like a tree or rock – you too have limits.
What seems permanent is not eternal.
And yet, learn as well,
that soil forms in the carcass of a fallen tree.
There is no despair in knowing
how death and decay have become
the servants of God.
We cannot despair in knowing
that though we will fall,
we will shape the foundation
of those who come after us.