The New Year is often likened to a steep mountain waiting for us to climb. It is sure to be fraught with toils, dangers, and snares. But with the hardships there will also be joys, blessings, and victories.
To climb it, we’ll need help from our mountain guide, Jesus, who calls us to follow Him. He knows where the dangerous crevices are and where to step to avoid danger. If we stay close to Him we can reach the summit at the end of this coming year in full victory. Even the best climbers need guides when they climb unfamiliar mountains. Many of the great mountaineers have sensed that someone was guiding them and helping them to reach their goal.
Years after his ordeal Shakelton described a mystical guiding presence that was with them during the crossing of the Antarctica.
He said, “I know that during that long and racking march of 36 hours over the unknown mountains and glaciers of South Georgia, it seemed to me often that we were 4 not 3 of us.
I said nothing to my companions, but afterwards Woolsley said to me, ‘Boss I had a curious feeling that there was another person with us.’”
Sometimes we may become too self-confident and feel that we can go it alone. We may have to learn the hard way for us to realize how much we need help, just like I did.
A friend and I were on vacation in the Alps of Switzerland. It was late afternoon by the time we reached the foot of the mountain we wanted to scale. As we ascended the slope, a rugged looking shepherd met us as he tended his sheep. He strongly warned us not to attempt to climb as it was too late and it would soon be dark.
He suggested that we wait until the next day and get a guide. However, we did not take his advice, as we had to go home the next day and we didn’t want to miss this unique opportunity. We impetuously trekked onward.
As sure as the night follows the day we were soon walking blindly in darkness. Because the steep mountains cast large shadows, it gets dark sooner in those parts. There was no moonlight and because it was overcast there was no starlight either. We could barely make out the rocky trail right at our feet let alone see ahead much further. It would be easy to stumble and go tumbling down the mountain. We realized that we had gotten ourselves into a dangerous situation. We decided not to risk going down. We would have to wait it out on the mountain until dawn. We had just one sleeping bag with us so we took turns sleeping in it.
Then it started to rain heavily. We were not only cold but also drenched. Our sleeping bag was not much use. We tried to find some refuge under some outcropping of rock. After a long ordeal, morning’s light broke, the rain stopped, and we were able to make our descent.
On our way down the trail, we met the same shepherd we had met the previous afternoon. He looked at our sorry condition and nodded his head somewhat amused at the plight we had gotten ourselves into by not listening to his advice. We looked like a pair of wet cats caught outside in a storm. I’m sure he was happy that we didn’t learn our lesson the hard way with a serious accident.
This coming year, there will be a mountain that each of us must climb. Perhaps, not a physical mountain but a mountain of accomplishment and difficulty that we must each climb to attain our goals. Keep climbing! Closely follow our mountain guide and don’t give up until you reach your summit. Let’s make sure that we listen and follow closely to the Chief Shepherd of our souls on the way up.
1Pe.5:4 – When the chief Shepherd shall appear, you shall receive a crown of glory that fades not away.
Mountain Climbing Quotes –
The first question which you will ask and which I must try to answer is this, “What is the use of climbing Mount Everest?” and my answer must at once be, “It is no use.” There is not the slightest prospect of any gain whatsoever. Oh, we may learn a little about the behavior of the human body at high altitudes, and possibly medical men may turn our observation to some account for the purposes of aviation. But otherwise nothing will come of it. We shall not bring back a single bit of gold or silver, not a gem, nor any coal or iron. We shall not find a single foot of earth that can be planted with crops to raise food. It’s no use. So, if you cannot understand that there is something in man which responds to the challenge of this mountain and goes out to meet it, that the struggle is the struggle of life itself upward and forever upward, then you won’t see why we go. What we get from this adventure is just sheer joy. And joy is, after all, the end of life. We do not live to eat and make money. We eat and make money to be able to enjoy life. That is what life means and what life is for.
George Leigh Mallory, 1922
You cannot stay on the summit forever; you have to come down again. So why bother in the first place? Just this: What is above knows what is below, but what is below does not know what is above. One climbs, one sees. One descends, one sees no longer, but one has seen. There is an art of conducting oneself in the lower regions by the memory of what one saw higher up. When one can no longer see, one can at least still know. Rene Daumal
The mountains will always be there, the trick is to make sure you are too. Hervey Voge
If you don’t let go, you can’t fall off! Jerry Moffat
It does not matter how slow you go, as long as you don’t stop. Confucius
Height has nothing to do with it, it is your strength that counts. Lynn Hill
Doubly happy, however, is the man to whom lofty mountain-tops are within reach John Muir
I want to know the thoughts of God. All the rest are details. Albert Einstein
My father considered a walk among the mountains as the equivalent of churchgoing. Aldous Huxley
Unusual travel suggestions are dancing lessons from God. Kurt Vonnegut
Short is the little time which remains to thee of life. Live as on a mountain. Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
If the conquest of a great peak brings moments of exultation and bliss, which in the monotonous, materialistic existence of modern times nothing else can approach, it also presents great dangers. It is not the goal of grand alpinism to face peril, but it is one of the tests one must undergo to deserve the joy of rising for an instant above the state of crawling grubs. On this proud and beautiful mountain we have lived hours of fraternal, warm and exalting nobility. Here for a few days we have ceased to be slaves and have really been men. It is hard to return to servitude. Lionel Terray
If you’re going to climb a mountain, you have to have the feeling that it’s really worth dying for!–Any mountain–the mountain of this life, the mountain of accomplishment, the mountain of obstacles, of difficulty– to brave wind and cold and storm, symbolic of adversities. But on the mountaintop alone, you feel so close to the Lord! The voice of His Spirit there is so loud it’s almost like it’s thundering! The silence on the mountain peak is deafening! You get a real high” on top of a mountain! It’s a thrill! – D. Berg
Climbing is, above all, a matter of integrity – Gaston Rebufat
“The events of the past day have proven to me that I am wholly alive, and that no matter what transpires from here on in, I have truly lived”
– the Canadian Alpine Journal 1993, selected by Peter Green
…writing about climbing is boring. I would rather go climbing. Chuck Pratt
I have been a mountain guide for 70 years. My walking pace is slow and careful – well thought out. I only walk as fast as I need to. When I climb I only take a sausage, a thermos of hot tea, and a loaf of bread. I live like I climb mountains. (simple yet practical)
I have no idea how I got to be 100 years of age but I no longer know any stress. For sure I have no fear of death. I have lived a full and happy life. My only fear is to slip on the ice outside. Why should I be afraid?
It is great to climb mountains, On the mountain, people become better. You are closer to the Lord and paradise.”
-Ulrich Inderbinen, Swiss mountain guide at 103 years old,
Come live with me, and be my love,
And we will all the pleasures prove,
That valleys, groves, hills, and fields,
Woods, or steepy mountains yields.
— Christopher Marlowe
Well could I curse away a winter’s night,
Though standing naked on a mountain top,
Where biting cold would never let grass grow,
And think it but a minute spent in sport.
— William Shakespeare
2 King Henry VI, Act III, Scene II
Do you not educate youth at the
charge-house on the top of the mountain?
— William Shakespeare
Love’s Labours Lost, Act V, Scene I
Ay, to the proof; as mountains are for winds,
That shake not, though they blow perpetually.
— William Shakespeare
Taming of the Shrew, Act II, Scene I