Beginning the climb on that foggy Friday morning, my heart felt a bit dull. I had eagerly awaited my time in the mountains as the cool, fresh air always provides peace and rest for my soul. With the trampling of time, the hustle and bustle of everyday life wears on my heart. Like worn shoes on hot pavement each pounding step burns a little of my soul until soon there’s little tread left to secure, little patience left to endure, little kindness available to share, little passion flickering to ignite.
I think my sweet friend knew that my heart needed refreshment, restoration, and renewal. She prayed with each step, “Lord, clear the clouds and cause the sun to shine so they can see the pinnacle view.”
As we walked the road the hills grew steeper with every turn. Soon my calves were awakened by a burning sensation that reminded me that I should have stretched my muscles before making the ascent. Finally, we made it to the end. The end of the road, that is. Now the hike through the woods began. My friend continued her plea. “I don’t want you to climb to the top for nothing. I’m asking God to part the clouds. Lord, please part the clouds!”
Much like the woods in a fairytale, the twisted trees formed a tunnel draped in vines and leaves. Surrounded by lush green moss, green bush, and fallen limbs, the beauty brightened my tired thoughts. The woods of Narnia—that’s what it felt like—as though we had entered another dimension.
After a while the path leveled off, we turned a corner, and there it was. Climbing onto the flat, weathered rocks, we gazed at the landscape. The clouds had cleared, and the sun shone forth. God had answered her prayers.
Transfixed by the vibrant trees, the scene was like a canvas of green velvet—a million shades of lush viridescent. We gazed out at the scenery, admiring the beauty before us. North, south, east, and west, as far as the eyes could see, we seemed small amid the vastness of the picturesque landscape.
Sitting for a while, we talked about the beauty before us, about our lives, and the Lord’s goodness. Discussing life’s ups and downs, the hills and valleys, we pondered God’s faithfulness in the big and small details. Mostly, we reflected on the beauty surrounding us and how simply being on the mountain refuels and reframes the heart and mind.
The warmth of the sun began to fade as the clouds grew together once again. Feeling the cool, moist air, we decided it best to leave the mountaintop, though we would rather remain. Before leaving, however, we lingered to pray. Standing on top of the mountain, we began declaring God’s character, His goodness, His grace, His loving kindness, and mercy. We worshiped and adored. We thanked, and we remembered. We asked, and we surrendered.
As mist from the encroaching clouds began to wet our tear-stained cheeks, I lifted my face toward the sky, and with closed eyes let the droplets drench me. I felt as though with each sprinkling of water I was absorbing the glory of the Lord’s presence.
He was there.
As our prayers ended, and we opened our eyes, the reality of God’s presence became obvious. Just as God had descended on Mount Sinai in Exodus when Moses went up to the mountain of God, so the clouds had descended upon and enveloped us.
Holy ground was the only phrase that came to my mind. Holy ground. We were standing in His presence as if on the precipice of heaven. Astonished, we laughed and cried, declaring as Peter, James, and John verbalized on the Mount of Transfiguration, “We don’t want to leave the mountain top! Can we just pitch tents and stay up here on the mountain with the Lord?”
Weaving my way back through the velveteen green woods, I pondered the miracle that we had just experienced. Most of the time I don’t think about the clouds parting and the sun shining as a miracle, but on that day, I believe it was so. In those moments heading back down the mountain into “real life,” the Lord whispered to my heart, “See, my glory is in the sunshine and in the storm-clouds.”
Yes, it’s so true. The glory of the Lord does not just exist in beauty, sunshine, and “good things.” God’s glory shines radiant in the clouds. When He is raining down water from heaven, He is pouring out blessings, blazing trails of hope, peace, and delight.
Just as the Lord proclaimed His name and His glory to Moses in Exodus 33, so He proclaims His name and His glory to us in the sunshine, in the showers, and in the shadows in between. The mere truth that the Lord is near expresses His character and grace.
We wanted to stay on that mountain, but God has other plans for us. You see, He desires for every mountain-top experience to end with His children coming down off the mountain with glowing faces that declare His glory.
So where are you today my friend? Are you on the mountain or in the valley? Are you in the sunshine, the showers, or are you in the shadows in between? Look for the Lord’s glory wherever you are and remember, His presence is where His glory remains.