Hills… and mountain tops

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I have fought the good fight, finished the race, and kept the faith. At last the champion’s wreath that is awarded for righteousness is waiting for me. The Lord, who is the righteous judge, is going to give it to me on that day. He’s giving it not only to me but also to all those who have set their heart on waiting for his appearance. ~2Timothy 4:7-8 (CEB)

Recently I was talking with someone about a 5K I was interested in. She told me that the route would be fast because there were not really any hills in the course that had been mapped out. This is unusual for East Tennessee! I thought, well this is good news!

Today when I was out running it occurred to me that without going up a hill there is no “down hills” to glide through on the other side. Yes running up a hill is hard work, but there is such elation when you make to the top, then you have the reward of being carried away with momentum down the other side.

I have not always felt this way about hills. When I first began to run I really dreaded those hills. I was too busy gasping for air to notice where I had been, what I had accomplished or even appreciate the fact that now I had the downside of the hill to enjoy.

As Christians we often talk about “mountain top experiences”. Those awesome moments when we just know God loves us and can feel His presence. The only way we can have these mountainous moments with God is by trekking up the mountain to be with Him.

Often I have found that the mountain top moments with God come after having gone through a really difficult time. The mountain top moment is when I realize I have not only survived the struggle but now at the top of that mountain I have clarity of where I have been and a glimpse of where I am going. On top of the mountain I can see how God has loved me through the moments up that mountain sometimes walking with me, sometimes carrying me, and sometimes dragging me.

I have decided I want hills and mountains in my path. Oh, I don’t wish hard times on myself, but growth and strength are gained by heading up those hills and mountains. Life is a full contact effort. Running circles in the valleys do not lead us to God. We must always tackle those mountains remembering at the top of each mountain, we find God.

Heavenly Father, when times get tough and I find that another mountain looms in front of me, please give me the courage and strength to tackle that uphill climb. May I not find myself running circles, avoiding the hard work or fearing injury. Instead, help me remember that at the top of that mountain I will find You! Amen.

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