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A Climb That Healed

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Authored by Beth Jordan (a guest contribution)

“If we can climb this mountain, then there is nothing that we cannot overcome together!”

I can still see my dad struggling to smile and look hopeful as he pointed toward a rocky mountain about 100 feet from the highway. I was 13 at the time, and my dad, older brother, and I were driving through the scorching rocky deserts of Mexico back to the United States to take care of some business.

My parents had been doing full-time mission work in Mexico, and I loved being right beside them at every step. Life was beautiful there, and I enjoyed it very much.

At this particular time, however, things weren’t so great. My parents were having some difficulties in their marriage, and they had decided to live apart for a few months. I didn’t understand why or exactly know what that meant, except that it seemed pretty serious. Mom had moved away a few weeks before, and I worried and wondered if she would return.

For most of the journey, I could tell that my dad was dealing with the difficulty of the situation. He looked sad, worried, and tired. The air was thick with a feeling of weariness and insecurity. At the same time, all three of us began to feel physically sick with headaches, mainly due to the heat, but also because of the emotions of it all; I remember feeling like we could all easily burst into tears. It went on like this for almost a whole day when suddenly, in the middle of nowhere, Dad stopped driving.

I can still remember his face; the tears that he was holding back seemed to glisten in his eyes as he got out of the car and told us to come with him. Reluctantly—as teenagers can be—we slowly got out of the car. There, about 100 feet away, rose the big crag of a mountain—all rock. It was at least a couple of hundred feet high and there certainly wasn’t any sort of a path leading up to the top.

The heat raged down on our heads as we squinted up at the rocks, then quickly turned around to ensure there weren’t any wandering rattlesnakes or coyotes. We stood there silently wondering what we were supposed to do, when Dad spoke these words:

“If we can climb this mountain, then there is nothing that we cannot overcome together!”

Somehow he knew that this was the healing that each of us needed.

Amazingly, my brother and I, as horrid as we were feeling, didn’t argue with him. I stood there, looking up at this rocky hill, and actually felt challenged to give it a try. Sure, we were tired, sick, and sad, but man, looking up at the top, I knew it was going to feel good to stand up there, having conquered the rocks.

We left the camper on the side of the road and, without looking back or stopping to take anything with us, we started climbing upward. After about 10 minutes of climbing, we began having small talk as we wove our way through the rocks and crevasses … a little “Thanks, Dad” here and “Hey, you did that fast!” there. This eased our discomforts and helped to bring focus on the task at hand.

Thinking back on that climb now, it was as though as we climbed we were letting go of our hurts. We were letting go of our fears. We were throwing up our hands in surrender, and telling Jesus, “We trust You.” We were embracing each other and saying, “Love will keep us together.”

There were so many emotions and unspoken questions that had been in the corners of my heart. I had tried to be strong for my dad’s sake and so had not even realized these feelings and fears were there. But as we climbed higher and higher, it felt as if Someone were removing the weights and worries and leaving them behind with each boulder and rock I passed.

We hadn’t said much when we neared the top, nothing significant at least, yet the silent bond we forged on that climb was the beginning of our personal healing.

It took us a good two to three hours in the scorching sun before we reached the top, and by then, the wind was blowing and the sun was beginning to set with a gorgeous orange and yellow glow. We were breathless, both from the climb and the panoramic beauty we were privileged to see. We laughed, we talked, and we allowed ourselves to feel our great Creator’s love. We let go of our troubles, and the smiles returned to our faces. As exhausted as we were, I remember feeling so alive, so free, almost … empowered.

We climbed down from that mountain changed and renewed. I knew that everything was going to be okay. And it was! My mom came home a couple of months later and everything was back to normal again. God had touched us through the beauty of His nature and the simple illustration of climbing a mountain; He showed us that there wasn’t anything that we couldn’t overcome together, as a family! And He made sure that we felt His love and presence.

Even if I go senile one day, far away, here are two reasons I hope I’ll never forget that climb:

The first reason was that it was one distinct time that I felt Jesus’ presence. As I stood on the top of that rocky mountain, I felt happy, secure, and loved, when all my previous emotions made me feel anything but that. I understood that it was unearthly and surreal.

The second reason was that it was clear to me that I didn’t have to “heal” myself. I didn’t have to do anything except relax and let Jesus heal me and love me and let me be me. I didn’t have to struggle to overcome the emotions. I didn’t have to work at it; I wasn’t down on my hands and knees in anguish and desperation. I simply relaxed and let Jesus speak quietly to my heart through the wind and the mountains and through that feeling of joy at reaching the top. It was nothing more than throwing myself into His strong arms, knowing that He would catch me.

As King David said in Psalm 30:2: “O Lord my God, I cried to you for help, and you have healed me.”1

1 English Standard Version.

Read by Stephen Larriva. Music by sindustry(CC). Copyright © 2012 by The Family International

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