"Wait until you see the view!"
So began the rather enthusiastic dialogue from our realtor, three years ago.
Of course I knew she was trying to sell a house, and so I took her words with a grain of salt. However, in this case, her superlatives were truthful – maybe even understated.
I will never forget walking in the front door of this house, making my way down the long hallway, and finally walking into the vaulted-ceiling living room.
With a view that took my breath away!
Actually, our beautiful blessing of a home has windows everywhere. And each one has a view. Stunning panoramas of the valley down below. Tucked-in shady gorgeous trees. Breathtaking vistas of surrounding mountain ridges. A visual *hike* right up the slope to a rocky outcrop just above our kitchen window.
But…the best and most majestic view is the one of the mountain peak outside our living room window. (That's a photo of it below – though photos cannot convey the immensity of this mountain, nor how close it actually is!)
I have always loved the mountains.
Growing up as a child, my favorite vacations were always when we went to the mountains. Now, don't get me wrong, our multiple trips to the beach were fun, too. I'm still an ocean girl, after all. But, whenever we traveled to the mountains, I somehow felt at home.
Like I was in my *soul place.*
You see, I think it's always been the size of the mountains that impressed me. The wildness of their surroundings. The whispers of immortality – like they'd been there forever – and would be there forevermore.
Mountains always gave me a feeling of security.
Mountains always spoke to me of God.
His majesty, His stability, His glory.
So, given the opportunity to live right below one, well, we grabbed it. Sure, there have been many changes in my life since moving here. And many of them have been very difficult, emotionally wrenching.
But, I have always appreciated the mountain peak right outside my window.
Of course, there have been some unsettling moments. Like the summer when I watched threatening fire clouds billow over that same mountaintop. Or when we've watched helicopter rescues of hikers and climbers – a few of them ending in disaster. And then, of course, there are those pesky earthquakes.
C'mon, people, we do live in California after all.
And there are four seasons in California – Fire, flood, drought, and earthquake!
When we lived down below, the earthquakes felt different. You could sense them coming. A slight, barely detectable rolling sensation began. And just as you were saying, "Is that an earthquake?" – you'd feel yourself undulating like a staggering sailor in the middle of a stormy, wave-tossed tempest.
Up here in the mountains, the quakes are different.
Sudden, powerful, loud.
Out of the blue, you'll be startled by a huge jolt, with a thunderous crack, that leaves no doubt.
"THAT was an earthquake!!"
Earthquakes don't scare me too much.
And I've got to admit, I take great comfort in the knowledge that the mountain range surrounding us is made out of solid granite.
And though we get shaken once in a while, I feel rather safe and sound.
Some are not so lucky.
I think about the country of Nepal. Hit with two huge earthquakes, and multiple strong aftershocks, their country and their people have been devastated.
I wonder sometimes.
Surrounded by the majesty of those Himalaya Mountains, including the highest mountain peak in the world – Mt. Everest – did they think they were safe?
Did they feel secure?
Were they any different than I am?
You know, we can fool ourselves into thinking that we are safe and secure in this world. We can believe that we are protected and sheltered and out of harm's way.
But, this is an illusion.
There is no other security in this life besides The Rock.
God is the only thing that never changes.
You know, there have been times when I looked up at that granite peak just outside my window, and I've wondered…
What would happen if it crumbled?
What would I do? How would I feel?
I'm sure I would be flooded with disbelief, shock, and terror.
But, even then, would I still trust God?
So what about all those times in life when our sense of security gets shaken?
The times when life drops a bombshell and we are struck with disbelief. Or when something terrible happens and we find ourselves in a state of shock. Or when fearsome circumstances fill us with terror.
What do we do when our mountainous illusion of security in this world crumbles?
I usually panic.
But my panic arises because I'm looking at the crumbling, and not at the covenant.
Thinking about this verse:
"For though the mountains should depart and the hills be shaken or removed, yet My love and kindness shall not depart from you, nor shall My covenant of peace and completeness be removed, says the Lord, Who has compassion on you." (Isaiah 54:10, AMP)
A covenant is a promise and a pledge.
And when it is given by God Himself, it cannot and will not be broken.
So, though the literal mountains and hills may crumble, though our faulty and fragile belief in earthly security may tumble in ruin, though our tenuous and brittle courage may fail in the onslaught of circumstances, there still stands forever a guarantee.
An assurance of a future. A hope.
And this is the solid ground on which we must take our place and establish a firm foundation.
Shaken, but not stirred.
I'm looking right now at my mountain peak.
Majestic, stable, glorious.
And yet, I know it is destined one day to disappear.
But not The Rock of my salvation.
And certainly not those of us who have grounded ourselves in the promises He will one day fulfill.
We are never to be forgotten.
Never to be lost.
Never to perish.
And on this we take our stand…
…never to be moved.
is a stronghold
in times of
I will not be afraid.
"It is like a person building a house who digs deep and lays the foundation on solid rock. When the floodwaters rise and break against that house, it stands firm because it is well built." (Luke 6:48, NLT)
"When the storm has swept by, the wicked are gone, but the righteous stand firm forever." (Proverbs 10:25, NIV)
"Do not be afraid of sudden terror or of the ruin of the wicked, when it comes, for the LORD will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being caught." (Proverbs 3:25-26, ESV)
"The LORD directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the LORD holds them by the hand." (Psalm 37:23-24, NLT)
"Give your burdens to the LORD, and he will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall." (Psalm 55:22, NLT)
"Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD and whose trust is the LORD. For he will be like a tree planted by the water, that extends its roots by a stream and will not fear when the heat comes; but its leaves will be green, and it will not be anxious in a year of drought nor cease to yield fruit."
(Jeremiah 17:7-8, NASB)
"Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. This I declare about the LORD: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him. For he will rescue you from every trap...He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection. Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night, nor the arrow that flies in the day. Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness, nor the disaster that strikes at midday. Though a thousand fall at your side, though ten thousand are dying around you, these evils will not touch you." (From Psalm 91, NLT)
"We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed."
(2 Corinthians 4:8-9, NLT)
"'Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine. When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.'"
(Isaiah 43:1-3, NLT)
"God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. So we will not fear when earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea. Let the oceans roar and foam. Let the mountains tremble as the waters surge!...The LORD of Heaven's Armies is here among us; the God of Israel is our fortress." (Psalm 46:1-3, 7, NLT)
"Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me."
(Psalm 23:4, NLT)
"For I am persuaded beyond doubt (am sure) that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities, nor things impending and threatening nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:38-39, AMP)
Do you have *mountains* that are crumbling today?
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