Where are your favorite fall (autumn) vacation spots? What do you usually do when you’re on vacation this time of the year? Do you like to go to the beach or up to the mountains?
If you like going to the mountains in the fall, what do you usually do there? Do you spend time walking in the woods under a canopy of lovely fall foliage?
One of my favorite mountains to visit is the Great Smoky Mountains. The mountain ranges are both in Tennessee and North Carolina, and you can see quite a long way off. God made those mountains so colorful that on some days you could see multiple layers and hues of blue and purple.
Some years ago, my family and I hiked up Mount LeConte. No big deal to scale more than 6,500 feet into the sky, isn’t it? We thought so. By the time we arrived at the start of the hiking trail, having driven all the way from Georgia, we had just enough time to get to the top of the mountain before the sun set. So off we went.
As a former Girl Scout troop (company) leader of some repute in my small high school, I can tell you that it was one of the hardest vertical hikes of my life. Going up the mountain, I kept wanting to go back down to the car and drive home. It was exhausting, and we were passed numerous times by retirees and elderly joggers (with their exceptionally fit running dogs).
At one point, I was literally clinging to the side of the mountain wall, holding on to dear life while my then young son said, “If Mom fell into the valley there, we may not be able to go get her.” Or something life-changing to that effect.
I kept climbing.
Somewhere up the mountain, my husband (bless his heart!) ended up carrying his backpack, my backpack, and our son’s backpack.
Then we stopped in the middle of the misty mountains, and read the Bible. It was glorious. I don’t recall what passage we read because I was profusely thankful to be alive and that was all. But we read the Bible and we prayed.
I do remember seeing some odd-looking red squirrels before we continued our hike up, and that took my mind off the idea that I could fall to my death any time I slip to the side (because I was wobbly and all).
Finally, by the mercy and grace of God, we reached the very top of the mountain.
In my mind, I was thinking “hotel” but when the check-in person handed us a rusty bucket so we could go get water from a pump in the middle of nowhere, I knew it was trouble for this city girl.
I grew up on a tropical resort island, in a bustling city with hundreds of years of beautiful brick buildings, paved roads, and all the luxuries of modern living. You know, like running water coming out of faucets.
I didn’t know what to do with the rusty bucket and how I was going to brush my teeth with one hand. There was no sink.
Please don’t remind me that I said I was a former Girl Scout troop leader of some repute.
And then they told us, “By the way, watch out for rats. They sometimes get into the cabins.”
I thought my hike that day had ended, but no. There was another quarter mile to go to the cliffs of the mountain, to the edge of the world, where a whole bunch of people gathered to watch the mountain sunset over the clouds.
I wondered then how many of those hikers were Christians, who believed that God created all that and more? That God created us, and knows our thoughts intimately? Who understands our hopes, dreams, desires, ideals? Who knows our weaknesses, pains, sufferings?
“Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).
At the end of the day, only God matters. No matter where we are in life or environment, God is still sovereign. God is still God.
Several years later, when I wrote Reach for Me (Vacation Sweethearts Book 2), I recalled my own mountaintop experience and how God delivered me through my mountain challenges. Of course, writing fiction is not like real life, and might be more intense. In the novel, two people from two different continents, each with difficulties in their own lives, found themselves in the same mountaintop resort where God has put them to find Him and to work through their problems.
If you’d like to read more about the book, feel free to check out the longer description at your favorite retailers. You can find the retailer links for Reach for Me at JanThompson.com/reach.
Well, have you had a difficult journey up a mountain in your life? Whether physically, emotionally, or spiritually, how did God deliver you from it or through it? How did the challenge change your life or your perspective of who God is?
Thank you for reading my blog post today.
I pray that you and your family have had or will have a wonderful Thanksgiving season.