The state of Arizona has some very beautiful hikes. One of my particular favorites is hiking Camelback Mountain. Camelback Mountain has an elevation of 2704 feet and isn’t considered very long in distance…approximately 2.3 miles to the top.
The first time I hiked Camelback, I remember having to stop several times to catch my breath. What makes this hike more challenging than others is not necessarily the distance to the top but the fact that it is rather steep and not gradual like other nearby hikes. There are certain places that you actually have to put your hands down on the rock to climb and the city has even tried to help hikers by adding a pole to help you get up.
The one thing I vividly remember on my first hike up Camelback Mountain was looking ahead and up to see how close I was getting to the top. Being my first time, I didn’t know where the top was or have any markers in my head to know how far I had hiked. It was actually deceiving because after hiking for awhile I would look up and think I was near the top, but then as I continued to climb I realized I wasn’t!
When I finally reached the very top, the sweat, strain, and muscle fatigue quickly diminished in awe of what I saw. The mountain top view was absolutely breathtaking! I was amazed that I could stand and turn 360 degrees and literally see the entire Phoenix valley. A sense of peace and calmness overcame me as I took it all in. I actually felt closer to God and his presence. Funny how you feel closer to God at the top of a mountain when really God is with you always everywhere you go!
I began to thank God and greatly appreciated the beauty of His creation that I saw all around me… from the blue skies to the panoramic view of other mountains in the distance to the sun just beginning to go down. Absolutely breathtaking!
As I experienced all this at the mountain top, I didn’t want to leave. I was in such a place of victory, accomplishment and peace and I wanted the mountain top view experience to last as long as possible. But unfortunately, I was not able to stay too long as I needed to head back before the sun went completely down.
The mountain top views I experienced on my hike can be similar to the mountaintop views in our lives. We will have mountain top view experiences in our lives…it may be the big victories and even the small victories that God allows us to achieve. It may be the breakthroughs we have in our marriage relationships, our finances, our children, our families, and in our personal relationship with Jesus.
What do these mountain top views actually look like?
1) These mountain top views are seasons in our lives that we stand in awe and amazement of what God has done…what he has pulled us through… just like the awe and amazement of the mountain top views we may experience on a hike. It’s like wow! God just did this for me!
2) Along, with that awe and amazement is a sense of peace that overcomes you…the peace that comes after you survive a difficult situation, trial, or test in your life. The peace and courage that you can get through anything with God’s power and strength.
“I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13NIV
3) And finally, there is thankfulness and great appreciation for your victory with Christ after you may have battled in your situation for a long time.
But what about during the difficult situations, circumstances, trials, and tests…the valleys…that we face in life?
Walking though the valleys are never easy…and if you notice, I said “through” (meaning there is a beginning …and an end!!!) The valleys of life are hard no doubt. You may be walking through the valley right now.
Are you in a valley in your life right now?
Sometimes when you are in a valley, it’s hard to know when it will end and it can get very discouraging. You may feel lost, alone, and without hope. I can tell you from my own valley experiences that I know it is not easy but it is possible to have mountain top views while walking though the valleys.
You see, it is through these valleys that we grow stronger. It is through these valleys that we allow God to take control because we just can’t do it in our own strength. It is through these valleys that we rely on God and his lead because we may not see the end. It is through these valleys that we grow…closer to God.
Have ever noticed the amount of green vegetation that exists in a valley? There is so much growth and life in a valley…it is full of trees, green grass, bushes, and plants. Even Death Valley reports an abundant growth of vegetation year after year!
It is in the valleys of life that we grow… not on the mountain tops… but our growth depends on the mountain top views that we have as we walk…and sometimes trudge…though our valleys.
Be encouraged and know that we can have mountain top views as we walk through the valleys of life. We don’t want to be stuck in the valleys… we want to walk through it (more like sprint through it!)
How do you keep a mountain top view as you walk though the valleys of life?
1) Trust God…keep focused on Him and not on your situation. He will bring you peace in the midst of your valley.
“You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.” Isaiah 26:3NIV
2) Always pray…even when you may not think he hears you! Trust me God hears you!
“I love the Lord, because he has heard [and now hears] my voice and my supplications.” Psalm 116:1 AMP
Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you. Psalm 55:22
3) Give God control…He is your strength when you are weak.
“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV
4) Be thankful…Gratitude has a way of changing your attitude. It takes your focus off yourself and your situation and on God.
“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1Thessalonians 5:16 NIV
5) Remind yourself of your past victories. Remind yourself of your past mountain top view experiences. Remembering your past victories will remind you of God’s love and goodness and encourage you to keep pushing forward as you walk though your valley.
Hebrews 11 is a great chapter to read to remind you of God’s faithfulness and goodness and what He has done in the past.
6) Be obedient… God will bless your obedience and faithfulness to him.
“The LORD will withhold no good thing from those who do what is right.” Psalm 84:11
7) Be joyful…I know what you are probably thinking…you are crazy! Ok, you may not feel joyful in your valley but the bible says to try and just consider being joyful.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” James 1:2-3 NIV
Consider it to be pure joy because you know you will persevere and come out stronger than before.
As you walk though the valleys of life, remember to view them as a mountain top view experience! You will then be filled with awe and reverence for God Almighty, have greater peace, and be thankful that God is doing something greater for you and in you as a result of your valley.
1) Are in a valley in your life right now? Do you feel stuck in your valley and without hope?
2) Are you focused, steadfast on God in the midst of your valley? Or are you focused on your circumstances?
3) What changes can you make in order to experience a mountain top view while walking through your difficult life circumstances?
Review the steps outlined above to help you have mountain top views while walking through your valleys.