A Message from the Mountain

Mr.RainierRounding the turn on Highway 16 on my way to work each morning, past Cheney Stadium, then a quarter mile more and, on a clear day, I’m struck by the towering presence of Mount Rainier.  Her prominent position immediately demands attention, lifting my eyes upward to glorious heights.

Sometimes the Mountain is shrouded in misty, low lying fog, only her peak showing.  Sometimes she’s capped by soft curving clouds, shaped by the wind that sweeps up and over.  And sometimes the sun shines unhindered on white slopes and craggy outcroppings, revealing all her beauty, yet leaving the mystery of grinding glaciers and deep crevasses to the imagination.  At this distance it is not a terrible or dangerous beauty laid bare before me; yet I know she is not a gentle hill.  A heart of fire beats within her, and though I cannot see the fearful power in her grandeur from behind the wheel of my Toyota, I know it’s there.

Almost daily I lift up my eyes to that mountain.  For a moment my thoughts are stilled and I remember – I am small.

Smallness, the awareness of it, can be a comfort.  The embrace of protective arms. A hand extended, and the confidence that there is enough strength in it to hold you.

The reminder of smallness provides perspective. That my creeping fears may not overwhelm me in the face of something far greater. That pain from my past and a present that feels like a burden too heavy, can somehow become manageable in that moment.

David knew something of this.  His song expresses clearly the yearning that draws his gaze.

I lift up my eyes to the mountains –
where does my help come from?
Psalm 121:1

But David looks beyond the mountains, and soon they are diminished, no more than grains of sand themselves when compared to the One who created them.  The Creator of all things in heaven and in earth.

My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
Psalm 121:2

And if the mountains are sand, what then am I?  Too small to be of any significance.  And yet the Creator, my Creator, full of great and fearful power, who raised mountains from a barren wasteland, who spun the universe into being, from His great and glorious height He has promised to always know me, see me, protect me, and love me.  My smallness becomes significant because of His greatness.

The Lord will keep you
from all harm –
He will watch over
your coming and going
both now and
Psalm 121:7-8

Mount Rainier is mine every morning when I round that bend.  I experience the mountain’s very real and present beauty as a gift.  And I am grateful for that gift, knowing it is a reflection of the true beauty of the One who spoke the mountain, and me, into being.