“I thought I was going to die,” reads a journal entry I wrote following my first experience climbing in the Colorado Rockies. Trincherra Peak sits at 13,517 feet and from tree line to summit you feel every inch of it. With every step, your breath grows increasingly more shallow, you hope, sometimes falsely, that the rock you’ve chosen to cling to doesn’t give way beneath you, and all too frequently you pause to relieve your aching legs and throbbing feet.
“Why did I think this would be fun,” you ask yourself.
But slowly and steadily, 1000 ft become 50 ft, becomes 1 step and you’ve summited the peak. The rush of relief and joy you feel are enough to knock you off your wobbly limbs. As you stand (or collapse) in breathless wonder, basking in your achievement, you feel both strong and so very small in the vastness of it all. And there, to commemorate your success is a monument of stones placed by climbers who have made their own journey to the top.
As I proudly placed my stone on the pile commemorating my journey to the top of Trincherra that day, I was reminded of those old testament believers that built similar altars to commemorate the good things God had done on their behalf. For instance, Genesis 28:10-19 tells the story of Jacob having a powerful prophetic dream and being transformed by the presence of God, he lays up a stone in his camp site and calls the place Bethel, meaning, house of God. Forever after, that stone would be a reminder to Jacob of his encounter with the living God.
We are daily building just such altars in our lives. Sometimes, we build these altars without even knowing it. It’s only when we look back we see stone after stone, moment after moment where seemingly insignificant connections to the Father, were mountains we summited by His grace. When I’m faced with new challenges I return to those monuments I’ve built over the years, those places where the Father rushed in like a flood to save me, when obedience to him paid off, when he comforted me through pain, whether I caused it or not. My life is a series of monuments built in remembrance of the goodness of God.
So, what monuments have you built as a response to God’s goodness in your life? What memories of His working in your life do you hold most dear? I encourage you to make a list and if you’d like to share, please leave a comment!