Rise Up, My Love (105): The Downside of a Mountain-top Experience

The Zugspitze, Germany's highest peak copySong of Solomon 4:8 “Look from the top…” The spiritual parallels are many and wonderful. To reach the pinnacle of the mountain of consecration, one must be thoroughly prepared and properly equipped. One must have a heart burning with singular devotion and passion, unwilling to be turned aside by any obstacle. One must travel beyond the lush vineyards of God’s children abiding securely together, and even beyond the forests of this world full of insecurities and dangers. One must go up past the snow line, where no sheltering trees grow and the winds are bitter and cold. Mt. HaleakalaHave you ever been to the top of such a mountain? For our twentieth anniversary, my husband took me on a cruise of the Hawaian Islands, and in Maui we drove up perhaps the world’s steepest road to the top of Mt. Haleakala, which is 10,023 feet above sea level and known as “House of the Sun.” Parts of the Star Wars desert and crater scenes were filmed here. Lest you think my description is just “writer’s license,” let me quote The Encyclopedia Americana: “Its vast dormant crater is an iridescent kettle of optical illusions, changing color minute by minute” (Vol. 13, p. 870). Although Maui was a tropical 82° below, at the top of Mt. Haleakala, the wind blew so fiercely that we were chilled to the bone within minutes, even with our warmest sweaters on! It was an eerie, awe-inspiring place…but absolutely barren…nothing but rocks and sand and dirt. More Austria and Italy 111 copyMy husband and I have traversed the alpine meadows at the top of the continental divide in Rocky Mountain National Park, but that is like another world compared to the top of Mt. Haleakala. Mt. Haleakala’s landscape seemed more like what one might imagine on the moon! Masada copyWhat would it be like at the top of “the Mount of Consecration?” It would be nothing but solid rock stripped of all natural pleasures and comforts…barren, desolate, and solitary. The winds of adversity would be bone-chilling; the terrain totally alien. It would not be a place one would naturally long to stay—nor be able to stay for long without the sheltering hand of God. Like Moses climbing up Mt. Sinai, such a mountain top experience occurs rarely and at great cost but leaves an impression that lasts a lifetime.

My husband and I ascended Mt. Haleakala primarily for one thing: to experience the view from the top, and what a view it was! I will never forget it. And, this is exactly the call Solomon gives his spouse, “Come with me. look from the top.” Osorno Volcano copyWhat could be seen from these peaks, and what is the spiritual significance? First it is worth noting that snow-capped Mt. Hermon could be seen from most of Palestine, even as far away as the Dead Sea. Viewed from Jerusalem, as King Solomon and his bride would most often see it, it was “across the Jordan.”

“Deep river, my home is over Jordan…” sings the spiritual person who longs for their final home in heaven. The view from Mt. Hermon was the view from heaven. It was the opportunity to see the whole world spread out below with a tiny sense of how the world might look from God’s perspective. New Zealand Fjords copyWell, what is this “heavenly perspective” that Jesus calls us to? What is so compelling about the view that our beloved challenges us to follow him up the mountain when walking on the level is relatively effortless and pleasant compared to the strenuous difficulty of climbing?


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