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Thursday, July 6, 2017

Oh, what a view!

Many of us have probably ridden a bike at one time or another. Isn't there a vast difference between coasting and peddling? Think of the last time you road uphill - how much more energy did you have to exert to actually get up that hill? If you are out of shape, you'd probably say it was horrendously hard! You found yourself huffing and puffing, holding onto your side which was splitting from the intense cramp you developed, and you knew for sure you'd "feel that one in the morning". Arnold Bennett was an English novelist and his opinion was that hills were meant for climbing, not coasting. Why? The best view was from the top!

It shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and it shall be lifted up above the hills; and peoples shall flow to it, and many nations shall come, and say: “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.” For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. (Micah 4:1-2 ESV)

We might just have to admit our view is determined most by whether we are settling for coasting, or putting forth the effort to actually climb the hill. I know the climb is harder, but I agree with Bennett - the view is the most spectacular at the top of the summit! Recently I had the opportunity to take my grandsons up into the mountains of Arizona. As we made a very subtle ascent into the mountains, the elevation changes were not all that evident. We had mountains all around us obstructing our actual view of the significant climb we were making. It is like the old adage - not seeing the forest for the trees. About five minutes from the top of the range, I pointed out a huge ridge of rocks that formed an awesome lookout point just ahead of us - a place that put into perspective the significance of the climb. Oftentimes we don't think we will ever reach the place of perspective, but when we do, what an awesome place that is!

My SUV was loaded down with all the gear and food we'd need for our five day adventure, plus the five of us. It was working quite hard at times to make that 7600 foot climb through the windy roads, but when we finally made it - awesome! The break in the trees gave way to the splendor of the lush valleys below - laid out like a tapestry of various shades of green, red, and tan. I wonder if he noticed there were still higher peaks off in the distance, or that not all the distance we had traveled was within our view? There are times when we think we will see all things clearly just because we reach some point in our climb, but when we get to the top, we actually see points higher than we have achieved! We don't always see the places from where we have come, or the significant distance we have traveled.

The ability to just "coast" isn't really realized until we have made the climb! That descent from the higher ground is what gives us the "push" that allows us to coast - we stop working so hard for just a little bit, but it isn't because we will be able to do that for long - there will be another uphill climb soon! We need the "summit" experiences to help us get perspective and then to encourage us to use our newly found strength to mount the climb to the next peak! There will always be another climb ahead - we never really get to stay at the summit in life. We need to be prepared to move on when it is time and then to mount the next climb just as we did the present one. Maybe we take something of a new perspective with us as we do, but we climb because the view is always best at the top! Just sayin!