A CLIMB THAT HEALED

Activated - - NEWS - Beth Jor­dan lives in In­dia with her hus­band and two children. They are the founders of Place for Change, which co­or­di­nates vol­un­teerabroad pro­grams in In­dia, Nepal, and Thai­land.

“If we can climb this moun­tain, there’s noth­ing we can’t over­come to­gether!”

I re­mem­ber my dad strug­gling to smile and look hope­ful as he pointed to­ward a rocky moun­tain about 100 feet from the high­way. I was 13, and my dad, my older brother, and I were driv­ing through the scorch­ing rocky deserts of Mex­ico back to the United States to take care of some business.

My par­ents had been do­ing full­time mis­sion work in Mex­ico, and I loved be­ing right be­side them at ev­ery step. Life was beau­ti­ful there, and I en­joyed it very much.

At this par­tic­u­lar time, how­ever, things weren’t so great. My par­ents were hav­ing some dif­fi­cul­ties in their mar­riage, and they’d de­cided to live apart for a few months. Mom had moved away a few weeks be­fore, and I wor­ried and won­dered if she would re­turn.

For most of the jour­ney, I could tell that my dad was deal­ing with the dif­fi­culty of the sit­u­a­tion. He looked sad, wor­ried, and tired. The air was thick with a feel­ing of weari­ness and in­se­cu­rity. At the same time, all three of us be­gan to feel phys­i­cally sick with headaches, mainly due to the heat, but also be­cause of all the emo­tions. I re­mem­ber feel­ing like we could all eas­ily burst into tears. It went on like this for al­most a whole day when sud­denly, in the mid­dle of nowhere, Dad stopped driv­ing.

I can still see Dad’s face. The tears that he was hold­ing back seemed to glis­ten in his eyes as he got out of the car and told us to come with him. Re­luc­tantly—as teenagers can do—we slowly got out of the car. About 100 feet away rose the big crag of a moun­tain—all rock. It was at least a cou­ple of hun­dred feet high and there cer­tainly wasn’t any sort of path lead­ing up to the top.

The heat raged down on our heads as we squinted up at the rocks, then quickly turned around to en­sure there weren’t any wan­der­ing rat­tlesnakes or coy­otes. We stood there silently won­der­ing what we were sup­posed to do, when Dad spoke:

“If we can climb this moun­tain, there’s noth­ing we can’t over­come to­gether!”

Some­how he knew that this was the heal­ing that each of us needed.

Amaz­ingly, my brother and I, as hor­rid as we were feel­ing, didn’t ar­gue with him. I stood there, look­ing up at this rocky hill, and ac­tu­ally felt chal­lenged to give it a try. Sure, we

were tired, sick, and sad, but look­ing up at the top, I knew it was go­ing to feel good to stand up there, hav­ing con­quered the rocks.

We left the truck on the side of the road, and with­out look­ing back or stop­ping to take any­thing with us, we started climb­ing up­ward. Af­ter about ten min­utes of climb­ing, we be­gan hav­ing small talk as we wove our way through the rocks and crevasses—a lit­tle “Thanks, Dad” here and “Hey, you did that fast!” there. This eased our dis­com­forts and helped us fo­cus on the task at hand.

Think­ing back on that climb now, it was as though we were let­ting go of our hurts and fears as we climbed. We were throw­ing up our hands in sur­ren­der and telling Je­sus, “We trust You.”

There were so many emo­tions and un­spo­ken ques­tions in the cor­ners of my heart. I’d tried to be strong for my dad’s sake and had not even re­al­ized these feel­ings and fears were there. But as we climbed higher, it felt as if the weights and wor­ries were fall­ing off my shoul­ders and were be­ing left be­hind each boul­der and rock I passed.

It took us two to three hours in the scorch­ing sun be­fore we reached the top, and by then, the wind was blow­ing and the sun was be­gin­ning to set with a gor­geous or­ange and yel­low glow. We were breath­less, both from the climb and from the panoramic beauty we were priv­i­leged to see. We laughed, we talked, and we al­lowed our­selves to feel our great Cre­ator’s love. We let go of our trou­bles, and the smiles re­turned to our faces. As ex­hausted as we were, I re­mem­ber feel­ing so alive, so free.

We climbed down from that moun­tain changed and re­newed. I just knew ev­ery­thing was go­ing to be okay. And it was, even aside from the fact that my par­ents even­tu­ally worked out their dif­fer­ences and my mom came back. God had touched us through the beauty of His na­ture and the sim­ple il­lus­tra­tion of climb­ing a moun­tain; He showed us that there was noth­ing that we couldn’t over­come! And He made sure that we felt His love and pres­ence.

Here are two rea­sons I’ll never for­get that climb:

The first was how dis­tinctly I felt Je­sus’ pres­ence. As I stood on the top of that rocky moun­tain, I felt happy, se­cure, and loved, when all my pre­vi­ous emo­tions made me feel any­thing but that. It was un­earthly and sur­real.

The sec­ond rea­son was that it was clear to me that I didn’t have to “heal” my­self. I didn’t have to strug­gle to over­come the emo­tions. I didn’t have to work at it; I wasn’t down on my hands and knees in an­guish and des­per­a­tion. I sim­ply re­laxed and let Je­sus speak qui­etly to my heart through the wind and the moun­tains and through that feel­ing of joy at reach­ing the top. It was noth­ing more than throw­ing my­self into His strong arms, know­ing that He would catch me.

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