Our family was blessed with a spectacular mountain holiday this summer in Banff, Alberta, Canada, a vacation that has long been on my bucket list to experience with my boys.
Our mountain holiday involved the literal climb out of the valley of Banff, to the summit of Sulphur Mountain, where we stood in awe of the views from the mountaintop. Far off, we could see the peaks of several mountains around us and enjoyed a bird's-eye view of the rich, green growth of the Bow Valley below.
We learned about the various growing regions in the mountains. The montane region in the valley was rich with growth, full of vibrant colours and hues of green, pervasive in a growth area. This area was full of life of all kinds. As we observed the regions of higher elevations, the sub-alpine and alpine regions, fewer and fewer plants, trees, and life forms were able to maintain and sustain growth, due to the harsher conditions and the shorter growing season. At the summit of a mountain, only the hardiest of life and vegetation can thrive, and this, we noticed, was limited more to mosses and lichens that firmly attached themselves to the mountain.
While on vacation, we attended church at the Banff Presbyterian Church, where we were warmly welcomed and taught, and enjoyed fellowship. The sermon reviewed the frequent laments to God that are poured out in the psalms. Rev. Clay Kuhn reviewed the process of taking our hearts to God in a sincere, honest way, which is often hidden from others, although known by our loving, merciful Father.
When we are lamenting, we may be experiencing a valley in our life, facing a time of hardship, disappointment, or sorrow, and calling out to God for His comfort, peace, and guidance to lead us through the steps we are being asked to take to be overcomers in Christ and to believe and witness God's faithfulness.
A couple of years ago, God placed Psalm 27 on my heart, and I am particularly grateful. Using this lament, God led me through a valley. The psalm closes so beautifully:
Psalm 27:13-14 – I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart. (NKJV)
The boys and I compared the similarities of what we learned about the growing regions of the mountains to our spiritual walk on this earth. Though we may prefer exhilarating mountaintop experiences to the valleys of lament, greater spiritual growth occurs in the valley experiences of our lives. Like the lichens, we must cling closely to Christ and stay firmly attached and connected to Him, through the reading of His Word and spending time with Him, to avoid backsliding and thinking that we are self-sufficient.
Whether in the valley or on the mountaintop, our need for God is the same. Where are you? Are you willing to grow in Christ?
Prayer: Heavenly Father, wherever we are, You promised never to leave us or forsake us. Guide us to be thankful in all circumstances and mindful of Your promises, that we may be transformed more into Your likeness and be Your hands and feet in a world that needs You so very much. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.
Listen to this devotional
Listen while you read: "At Thy Feet Our God And Father" (Lyrics)