Cable Car or Crampons?
Recently I was watching a travelogue on TV. The host was exploring Bavaria in Germany, and one of the highlights of the tour was a trip to the Jungfrau, the highest mountain in that part of Europe. Because this was a travel show and not an outdoor adventure program the mountain was to “scaled” with the aid of a cable car.
We, the “virtual” tourists, joined the throng on the platform waiting our turn to board. When we were all safely seated the very impressive ride began. As the gondola rose from the valley floor two things stood out. First, how far up into the sky our destination, the station at the highest observation point below the summit, seemed to be. Second, with every meter we rose from the valley floor the mountain scenery grew more and more spectacular. Soon we were hanging in mid air with fields and forests falling away below us, and sheer rock faces, snow and ice looming closer and closer.
Suddenly our gently swaying reverie jolted to a halt and the gondola door opened to reveal a narrow platform. We had already ascended part way up the mountain, and this was the jumping off point for those brave souls who intended to climb the rock face the rest of the way. Watching them disembark I thought to myself how glad I was that our TV host was staying on the cable car! Which would you have chosen? Turns out, both have their place.
The vista and perspective that can be gained from the cable car is unparalleled. A watchful mountaineer could learn things about the peak and the best way to conquer it they could gain no other way. I’ve read of climbers doing just that, climbing part way up adjacent mountains to study the topography and plot their intended course. Sometimes months of this kind of study precedes a tough climb.
As beautiful as the views may be, if your vision is conquest sooner or later you must strap on your boots and crampons and begin to get to know the rock, ice and snow up close and personal. If you want to take the mountain, a cable car view will never suffice. The sense of struggle, breakthrough, and eventual triumph of standing on the summit can only be appreciated by those who have invested the time, treasure, blood, sweat and tears.
These two approaches have much to recommend to us in our “Mountain Taking”.
1. We need the big picture. Our view comes not from a gondola swinging in the wind, but from the One who sees all, and sees it perfectly. His view becomes our vision, which in turn is what keeps our hope alive when the rock face gets difficult and the path ahead seems blocked or unclear.
2. We are Mountain Takers. We are not tourists looking for the right photo to show the gang back home. The Mountains of Culture may appear at times as formidable as the Himalayas, but they can be taken. Armed with God’s perspective and strength we are more than conquerors!
Do you need a refresher of the Lord’s “cable car” view, or fresh strategy and strength for the climb? Just ask Him. He is ready to answer!
Have a great week on your Mountain!