One Last Mountain

 

 painting by John McNaughton

painting by John McNaughton

I only recent conquered one
Not so distant past
But each peak now seems harder than
Was climbing up the last

I’m walking so much older now
Much slower than before
It’s time to lay some burdens down
And shoulder them no more

Perhaps I’m almost finished
My climber says I’m not
My will is not diminished
My body not quite shot

But one can hardly ever tell
When one’s nice trail will end
What waits beyond horizon’s hill
Or ’round next river bend

And there will be that one higher
More fright’ning to attempt
Looming there one last hard climb
Where no one is exempt

Daunting doubts I reckon
Uncertain and unknown
Cold airless shadows beckon
To scale it all alone

You fool you will not be alone
The trail well-marked and lit
The crags will have beginner’s holds
You surely will not slip

Up toward my final peak
The one on which I’ll stay
I’ll wait until He finally speaks
Then lifts my soul away

Thus will it be that in the end
I’ll rest there where He Is
In the beauty of the Endless Land
With Him and all of His
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Image

Metaphor Mountain

 

I “love” mountains, and I “love” The Mountains.

(I’m using quotation marks because I’m trying to teach myself to use the words “love” and “hate” appropriately, that is to save them for situations in which their true meaning applies)

What I really mean to say is that I like mountains intensely.  In my book, one can only love living entities that one can have some sort of relationship with, like God (especially Him), a person, or perhaps a pet.  Of course the words love and hate can be used metaphorically and that’s the way they are most often used.  You hear it umpteen-zillion times a day. (Wink) I, myself, hate that.  Oops, I dislike that.  It is so common we don’t even notice the frequency of “I love it when”…., or, “I hate it when”. It’s annoying when I hear “I just love your hair, and that purse, I just love that, that’s to die for!”. We all do it, but how did we get so far from the true usage?   Love God with everything you’ve got.  Love your neighbor as yourself.  That’s a tall enough order for the word “love”. Hate the sin, love the sinner! Another mighty tall order, yet, in those two sentences are found the true meaning and usefulness of the words love and hate.

I’ve gotten slightly off the trail. Let’s get back on it: If there were inanimate objects I could love, however, they would be “the mountains”.  I have had, and am having, some wonderful real and metaphorical relationships with them, a few notable individual mountains in particular. If I had a “bucket list”, being in the mountains would be on it right after being with my people.

Mountains have real and metaphoric value in my life because they emphasize several opposing concepts:

Ascending and descending.
Higher and lower.
Danger and safety.
Climbing and falling.
Struggle and peace.
Beauty and desolation.
Heaven and Earth.
Spirit and flesh.
Good and evil.
And the awareness of the proximity of
life and death.

I could expand this list almost endlessly, but you get the point.

Recently, the subject of death has been on my mind. My post, https://gloryteller.com/2013/03/25/one-last-mountain/,  uses ascending a mountain as a metaphor for death.  Perhaps it will become more than a metaphor.  Perhaps I will “meet Death” on the slopes of a real mountain. Most likely it will be a metaphoric mountain that will claim my bodily life.

When I was transformed into a believer, my many and various fears were either taken away completely or were significantly diminished. My almost obsessive fear of death was one that was removed. All that is left is the natural, instinctive, compulsion to preserve my bodily life. Death, to me, is the necessary step I must take to reach Paradise, Heaven, and eternal life in the presence of my Lord and my Heavenly Father. Yet, it dawned on me that perhaps I’m taking death too lightly. Is it really a natural part of life? Is there nothing that can be done about it? If it is normal and natural, should anything be “done” about it?

I subscribe to the school of thought that death is a corruption thrust into a creation that was perfect before selfishness turned into sinfulness and spoiled the whole plan. I also believe that there is something that should be, and can be, done about death, and that is to believe, and believe in the Savior, who was sent to vanquish it. Death is the consequence of our sinful nature, but He accepted true death in our places, so that we would not have to face the permanent consequences of our selfishness. Jesus defeated selfishness with selflessness! Everything that should and could be done about the problem of death has already been done! Problem solved! Done! Over! Finished! But only for believers in the One who did it perfectly and died for it perfectly! (I’ll leave it to you to discern and comprehend the larger, more complex, concept of death beyond the relatively simple death of a body.)

So, that being said, perhaps I still don’t really know enough about death, nor the process through which it will take me. Perhaps when the moment comes, I’ll be unprepared and I might succumb to fear, or find out that everything I thought I knew was wrong. It only happens once, and, although there are those who claim to have returned to their bodies, or returned from Heaven or Hell after they died, I suspect that death is an individually unique occurrence to which the testimonies of others have little value. There is only one person I personally know who has returned from death – my Lord and Savior, Jesus. I only trust what He said about it. That is recorded in the New Testament.

To climb a mountain, it is vital to be prepared. It’s interesting that the word “vital” comes from Latin roots meaning “relating to life, or the quality of being alive”. In my case, it means being able to preserve my life and my ability to stay alive throughout the whole journey; until the adventure is completed. I must pack the essential food, water clothing, and first aid supplies. I must have a map of the area and the route to the top either in my “head” or in my pack. I must be in good physical condition. I must have a positive mental attitude. I must have skills and knowledge, and be able to use them wisely. I must read extensively about the subject. I also must know how to pray and talk to the only One who will be my companion all the way. There will be only one chance to “get it right”.

Preparing to summit a mountain is like anticipating both bodily and metaphysical death – knowledge about what will kill you, makes you stronger. The stronger you are, the more likely a good outcome. The Bible says every person will die, then live again in an eternal body. The only question is “ which of two eternal ‘places’ will a person exist in after that”. I choose life – abundant life – with God.

Yes, that metaphoric mountain rises before me, and yes, evil will stalk me all the way up, but, before me, Jesus walked, and fell, and died, and lived again on that final mountain so that I would need to fear no evil; so that I would not have to fall, and break, and die before reaching the summit. His Spirit will accompany me and I will rely on His strength as I get weaker on my journey to the top, where He, Himself, awaits my arrival. From this land’s end until The Endless Land, I will trust God and believe in The Son of Man, and that not a moment too soon, for now, day breaks the gloom of night, and I can begin to see my humbling,        huge,        sobering,         mysterious,       towering,        massif on the horizon.

^^^

Image

One Last Mountain

One Last Mountain

 painting by John McNaughton

painting by John McNaughton

Re-posted for R. L.,  a dedicated reader who liked the way this format “walks” across the page.
It’s actually a quirky glitch in the WordPress transposition of the way I really wanted it displayed. 🙂

I only recent conquered one
Not so distant past
But each peak now seems harder than
Was climbing up the last

           Perhaps I’m almost finished
My climber says I’m not
My will is not diminished
My body not quite shot

                      But one can hardly ever tell
When one’s nice trail will end
What waits beyond horizon’s hill
Or ’round next river bend

                                 And there will be that one higher
More fright’ning to attempt
Looming there one last hard climb
Where no one is exempt

                                              Daunting doubts I reckon
Uncertain and unknown
Cold airless shadows beckon
To scale it all alone

                                                          You fool you will not be alone
The trail well-marked and lit
The crags will have beginner’s holds
You surely will not slip

                                                                       Up toward my final peak
The one on which I’ll stay
I’ll wait until He finally speaks
Then lifts my soul away

                                                                                   Thus will it be that in the end
I’ll rest there where He Is
In the beauty of the Endless Land
With Him and all of His

                                                                                                                                                                                           

One Last Mountain

One Last Mountain

 painting by John McNaughton

painting by John McNaughton

I only recent conquered one
Not so distant past
But each peak now seems harder than
Was climbing up the last

I’m walking so much older now
Much slower than before
It’s time to lay some burdens down
And shoulder them no more

 Perhaps I’m almost finished
My climber says I’m not
My will is not diminished
My body not quite shot

 But one can hardly ever tell
When one’s nice trail will end
What waits beyond horizon’s hill
Or ’round next river bend

And there will be that one higher
More fright’ning to attempt
Looming there one last hard climb
Where no one is exempt

Daunting doubts I reckon
Uncertain and unknown
Cold airless shadows beckon
To scale it all alone

You fool you will not be alone
The trail well-marked and lit
The crags will have beginner’s holds
You surely will not slip

Up toward my final peak
The one on which I’ll stay
I’ll wait until He finally speaks
Then lifts my soul away

Thus will it be that in the end
I’ll rest there where He Is
In the beauty of the Endless Land
With Him and all of His

                                                                        

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The Basic Christian Library

"Mere Christianity" by C.S. Lewis. This is fundamentally what Christianity is all about.

"The Case for Christ" by Lee Strobel. Another converted atheist presents His compelling case for believing in Jesus.

"Left To Tell" by Imaculee Ilibagiza. This profound work is her own extraordinary story of endurance, discovery of the Holy Spirit, grace, healing, and an astonishingly compelling account of the necessity for forgiveness.

Compelling Christian Fiction Reads

"The Circle" 4-book series by Ted Dekker.
A man is the bridge between two very different worlds. Sound familiar? Can he save both? This T.D. work is brilliant in my book.

"This Present Darkness" and "Piercing the Darkness" by Frank E. Peretti. Tales of spiritual warfare from a unique perspective. Stirred a small controversy, but sold millions. What are we Christians afraid of? Hey, it's fiction!

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