Out of your hands, into His
By Paul Slough
“For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace shall not be removed, says the Lord who has compassion on you.” ~Isaiah 54:10
For some, the idea of mountains departing and hills being removed can become so overwhelmingly desired, that there is a temptation to worship the expected relief and joy expected when looking at a fresh-made plain of freedom. The mountains can be overwhelming…a terrifying diagnosis, another surgery, continued physical pain or mental anguish, an addiction, prison, physical or mental abuse, a war that rages within after returning home, and countless other feelings of tired pain and seeming hopelessness. The hills that adorn these mountains are just as oppressive and often frame the range with depression, resentment, fear, anger, anxiety and distrust. Often the weight can be crushing, and the warm light of fellowship is occluded.
For others, the idea of mountains or hills vanishing is terrifying and produces an anxiety that is heart stopping. These mountains come in the form of the loss of a loved one or child, financial hardship or ruin, betrayal, failure in marriage or parenthood, failure in the ministry, loss of national identity, rejection from a political affiliation, failure of movements and causes, the destruction of an institution or simply hearing “no” for the millionth time.
Out of all the mountains in the Word that come to mind, the Mount of Transfiguration is my favorite. Here Peter, James and John are with Jesus and see Him in His glorified body. Suddenly they are on their faces, terrified and worshipping our Lord after hearing God’s voice of comfort and surety. Jesus makes the statement to them that He makes to us: “Rise and have no fear.” The text goes on to say, they “…lifted up their eyes, and saw no one but Jesus only.” (Matt. 17:1-8)
True love & joy
Is it any wonder then that our King often went to the mountains alone to pray (Matt. 14.23), or that He was later slain on a hill named Golgotha (John 19.17)? It is for His love and our peace.
So often we think of Jesus positionally seated at the right hand of our Father making intercession for us, that we forget He is actually with us in all of our shame, fear, pain, ridicule, doubt, worry, tattered faith, and sickness. He never leaves us, nor forsakes us; just as He promised!
Remember, it is our neediness of Him and our dependence on Him that glorifies Him most and fills our hearts with joy. It is in God’s steadfast love and His covenant of peace that we find the pursuit of earthly pleasures always disappointing, because of the limits of their excellence and glory. Christ is the only true substance of the soul’s longing desire, appetite and passion. He is the cosmos of joy when we found happiness in a sparkler.
Cleave to Jesus
Whether you are in the camp of fearing the mountains departing, or overwhelmed with the desire to see them and their wretched hills vanquished, cleave to Jesus who Himself is our true plain of peace and Everest of hope. I, for one, can’t promise you that your mountain of security will always stand, nor that your mountain of pain will soon be removed, but in the end know that our mountains and hills do not define who we are in His Kingdom. It is when we give consent with our hearts and respond to His beauty that we truly can be guarded by His love and guided by His peace.
It is the posture of worship in the valley of decision that allows us to lift up our eyes and see Jesus.
“Let your light so shine…”
Paul Slough is currently serving an unjust prison sentence along with three other men and their families. But what was meant for destruction, God is using for their good. He is a student of Scripture who desires to be back in his family’s arms, and to begin the next chapter of their lives. You can read their story and pray for their pardons at freeraven23.com.