I struggled through the fallen limbs and briars cluttering the mountain trail. Droplets trickled down my face from the sweat of my brow, the arduous journey almost over. The ridgetop was in view — just a little farther and the struggle would be worth it.
The height would offer a glorious view of my beloved Blue Ridge Mountains.
Taking hold of a crevice in a nearby boulder, I hoisted myself onto the rock, using it as a stepping stone to climb along the rock ledge. A few feet over I found a comfortable place to sit. The stone felt warmed by the sun. I hugged my knees and looked out over the vast beauty of the mountain range.
Layer upon layer, crest upon crest, the mountains stretched out before me. The angle of the afternoon sun lit the mountaintops with flaming fall color. The same light cast deep blue shadows flowing into the valleys.
Mountaintops in flaming light.
Valleys in deep shades of blue.
One right after the other, over and over again.
The Spirit of God stirred within me as I reflected on the magnificent view before me. I thought of the repeating light reflecting from the mountaintops, and immediately remembered the phrase, “from glory to glory.”
2 Corinthians 3:18 reads, “But we all with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.”
I sat quietly on the ridge, my thoughts wandering — searching for meaning.
Glory to glory …
Mountaintop to mountaintop …
And then it hit me.
All of us, as followers of Jesus, relish the mountaintops in our journeys. They offer reprieve from our trials, rest for our weariness, peace that passes all understanding.
Mountaintop experiences are alight with the flaming Presence of the Lord. During those times, His touch is tangible. We are energized and strengthened for the journey ahead.
But then comes the valley … because we can’t get to the next mountaintop without crossing the valley. The descent from the heights is sheltered in the deep blue of His shadow — we are not alone. He makes His Presence known.
The trail leading to the mountaintop is never easy.
But it’s always worth it.
I remembered wiping the sweat from my face as I finally made it to the top and hoisted myself up onto the ledge. The sweat of my brow must have glistened in the bright sunlight that day, reflecting my determination to journey onward.
I believe the Lord honors and recognizes the sweat of our brow as we complete an arduous journey. In some small way, our sweat honors Him — imitates Him — in His passionate pursuit to know us and make Himself known.
Transformation — sanctification — takes a lot of sweat. It is no easy matter and comes complete with bloodied knees bent in prayer. The journey to that place of rest is wrought with fallen limbs and briars that tear our flesh. But with our eyes looking up with anticipation of encountering magnificence, we find strength to press on.
And the reward awaits.
The mountaintop doesn’t disappoint.
And the glory of those moments in the presence of the One who loves us, transforms, renews, and reaffirms us as His own as we behold Him with unveiled faces, seeing Him for the awesome God that He is.
And we are changed.