Mountain moments (2)
For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord for ever. Therefore encourage each other with these words (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18)
Ben Nevis, Britain’s tallest mountain at just over 4,400 feet (or 1,345 metres if you prefer) is merely a molehill compared to the heights found in many other countries, as Nico Marais reminded us in his recent blog! But it’s certainly on the must do list of all those in our part of the world who love the mountains, even though it has gale force winds on the summit around 260 days a year, and over 170 inches of rain a year - an average of almost half an inch a day. So not to be tackled lightly!
It was the final day of a week in Fort William, at the foot of Ben Nevis, so it was now or never. But the signs weren’t promising. The mountain was in cloud and the forecast was rather mixed. But we decided to go for it, and as we gained height so did the cloud in front of us. But eventually we hit the cloud base and were walking in thick mist. And it carried on that way to the top.
I remember perching on a rock and getting a banana out of my rucksack to refuel for the walk back down, grateful for the fresh air and exercise but disappointed by the lack of a view. But as I sat eating, it was as if someone suddenly drew back the curtains, as the cloud cleared and a magnificent panorama opened up, with breathtaking views for miles in every direction. What had been completely hidden a few seconds before had become crystal clear.
Moments in life when we have a strong awareness of God’s presence, or we sense the depth of His love for us, or His word springs alive in a very personal way, or we see His power clearly at work, are very special. It’s as if the clouds have blown away and we see and understand Him as He really is. But even when the clouds are there, and we only catch glimpses of Him, He is still there, at work in us, through us and around us. And we have the wonderful promise that one day we will see Him face to face and be with Him for ever!