Look! Striding across the mountains— a messenger bringing the latest good news: peace! A holiday, Judah! Celebrate! Worship and recommit to God! No more worries about this enemy. This one is history. Close the books! – Nahum 1:15
If you have read me much over the years – or simply looked at my photographs – then you already know how much I am drawn to mountains. All the better if I can make my way to the top.
So Rebekah and I were pleased – after several overcast and rainy days – when we woke up Thursday morning to witness clear skies and amazing views. We spent the first part of the day doing our retreat/study thing, we enjoyed a classic North Carolina barbeque lunch, and then we made our way to Mount Jefferson State Natural Area. Yes, it was cold, but the views were amazing.
There is a sense, at the summit of a mountain – any mountain, of being closer to God. Not – of course – physically closer, but more vitally connected spiritually. It’s not that God cannot be present and evident on the couch in my living room, it’s more that my clarity of focus is more finely tuned when I’ve hiked a little, breathed in some fresh air, moved away from commonplace distractions, and placed myself in a physical location where God’s creative hand is so undeniably and beautifully evident.
It’s a lot like the conclusion I arrived at after investing several hours involving a camel, some tough hiking, and a fair amount of steep climbing in order to make the summit of Egypt’s Mt. Sinai in time to watch the sunrise: “Now I understand why God told Moses to get up early and meet him on the top of the mountain.”
Mountaintops clear my head, and – often – they blow the cobwebs out of my spirit too. Rebekah and I have been here in the Blue Ridge Mountains this week with the deliberate intention of seeking God and getting recharged with the vision to move forward in faith. Sometimes that charge comes in small doses via study and reflection. Sometimes it comes directly from God.
God, I’ve heard tell, keeps a cabin in the mountains of North Carolina. Yesterday God must have been out hiking too, because we met right there at the top of Mt. Jefferson.
In awe, and gratitude – DEREK
Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there’s always something new in the works.
Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.
Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men’s Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.