“Yea, right … ”
That’s what I would’ve said if told I’d be climbing a mountain at some point in my life.
Somehow, climbing over 500 ft. into the sky through dense jungle, forest or snow and then standing on the edge of a precipice from which I may or may not fall to my death just doesn’t seem appealing. Unlike me, however, the principal at the school I’m teaching at loves the outdoors. Especially mountain climbing.
The week before Thanksgiving break, a horrible idea struck him.
“Why don’t we climb that mountain behind the school. What is it called again?”
“The Devil’s playground,” I answered bitterly.
“Mt. Mutante, that’s it! We’ll climb it for our youth activity during Thanksgiving break.”
I couldn’t believe my ears! Instead of relaxing and stuffing my face with good food, I’d be doing the most strenuous activity I’ve ever done. Mr. Meharry, my principal, told me not to fear. Though it might be hard, it’d be rewarding. I dreaded the day of our torturous mountain climb.
The day finally arrived and my captors came to take me to my doom. As we walked closer to the hulking monster of Mt. Mutante, I fervently prayed to God that a mysterious ailment would strike me so I wouldn’t have to continue.
As we reached the base of the mountain, it became obvious that the Lord would leave my plea unanswered. Mr. Meharry, myself, a student from the school, and two young people from the church began our ascent of the 923 ft. behemoth. As we climbed, I realized why I hadn’t wanted to come along. I was falling and fatigued the whole way up the mountain, taking frequent stops and finishing my water. At one point, I thought I wasn’t going to make it.
However, at my lowest points, encouragement and help from others lifted me and finally, we reached the top. I was taken away by the breathtaking view of the island and it hit me. I was at the top! I had climbed a mountain.
Thinking about that climb, I can’t help but think about my spiritual journey this year. My student missionary year has been a lot like climbing that mountain. At times, it’s been a grueling uphill spiritual battle. I’ve felt like giving up. My comfort zone has been stretched time and time again, and many times I find myself wondering why.
Looking back at Mt. Mutante, I’m realizing God has to stretch us sometimes, and it usually hurts. Moving from glory to glory isn’t always a cakewalk or exciting experience. Sometimes, we fall down, get fatigued and dread taking the next step. But, if we never move from where we are, we cannot experience the depths of the love of God. Maybe it’s time we leave our comfortable homes and begin the ascent up the mountains of faith. If we don’t, we might miss out on the breathtaking views of God’s amazing grace.
J-Fiah Reeves is a student missionary in Kosrae, Micronesia.