Our current home rests in a valley, a green and lush space between two stretching mountain ranges. The peaks rest in the background, shadows against every sunset and sunrise, and we mark the changing of the seasons by the snow they gather. My kitchen window looks northeast where, across the fields, rises Mount Jefferson. It is rough, tall, a western rock-and-snow wilderness that stands in contrast to the green, green valley.
This daily view brings the psalmist’s words often to mind:
I will lift up my eyes to the hills—Psalm 121:1 NKJV
From whence comes my help?”
When autumn and winter come, the sky is usually hidden behind low, gray clouds or thick morning fog, and the mountain disappears. It vanishes completely into the mist. Many days, it simply doesn’t exist, and I wonder if I ever really saw it at all.
I lift up my eyes to the hills, from whence comes my help.
Many winter days, the absence of light feels like the absence of life.
What hills? What help?
We ache for a better home, a holy city for the healing of the nations, a mountain of peace that the fog will never block from view. But many days the fog sinks in, settles into the valleys of heart and mind, obscuring true things. The mountain is a distant dream, a memory, and the fog is heavy with sorrow. A miscarriage. A mother with cancer. A lay-off. A misunderstanding between friends. A busted knee. An affair. Another lonely, unremarkable day. But even on the foggiest days, I can’t keep from lifting my eyes to the invisible horizon. I can’t keep from hoping.
The mountain rises there, always, whether or not I can see it. And though the fog is heavy and unrelenting, though the darkness sometimes seems to be all I will ever see, the darkness has no power over the mountain or the promises it reminds me of. The fog can only hide; it cannot destroy. And it cannot hide forever.
Our hope rests in a God far, far greater than the darkness. A God who has already overcome the darkness, who promises life and light and abundance forever.
The sun will rise. The fog will lift. The mountain stands firm. As does the promise of a true and better mountain, the holy city of God for the healing of the nations. The snow-peak I see from my window is but a shadow of the glory to come, the promise waiting, the holy mountain promised in Isaiah, to which all peoples will flock to the presence of God. And yet its beauty and majesty strike my heart every day I am able to see it.
We lift up our eyes to the hills, from whence comes our help, our promise of One Day, our rest from weariness. Whether or not we can see it today, the mountain and its promises stand.
Featured image by wirestock.