Ever sing “The Bear Went Over the Mountain?” Sure you have. If you haven’t, YouTube it! Back in the dark ages before cars had videos, it was my go-to entertainment for my twitchy little boys at the end of a long trip. I would sing it with all the drama I could muster, building up to the point where the bear finally got to the mountaintop.
“The other side of the mountain,” we’d sing, “was all the bear did see” and collapse into the expected giggles.
Well, I’ve just seen the other side of the mountain and that wasn’t all I saw. It wasn’t so funny, either.
Let me explain.
This past weekend was a mountaintop experience—one I haven’t had for a long time.
After nearly ten years’ absence, the Christian renewal group in which I once was so active invited me back to give a talk. Though I felt a bit like Rip Van Winkle, the timing seemed right and I agreed.
I had nearly forgotten how exhilarating it is to spend a whole weekend with people of deep faith. We laughed and cried and prayed and sang together, learning from and supporting each other. There was Jesus, “in the midst of us” (Matthew 18:20)…and we knew it. I’ve been on many such weekends, but this was one of the best.
I’ve learned you can’t live on a mountaintop, even a good one like that. I also know the Enemy redoubles his efforts when you’ve had such an experience. There’s nothing he likes better than to steal our joy.
Sure enough, Monday morning, there he was. Waiting.
We woke up to snow…again. Really? Then someone in an organization we support was dealing with a huge conflict. Could we meet and discuss it? Okay… Oh, and had you heard about the flooding on Kauai? Do you think your condo is okay? What…? A quick check of the internet revealed pictures of someone paddling a kayak through the shopping center at the end of our road. Uh-oh.
Then, the worst challenge of all. Monday night, I woke up coughing and gasping, unable to breathe. Twice. I grabbed the inhaler, the cough medicine, the decongestant and staggered back to bed. As I lay there, listening to my bronchial tubes creak like an old barn door in the wind, my weary brain whirled round and round.
Here we go again. I’ve been wrestling with this condition for almost three years now, while one doctor after another searched for solutions. Back came the weariness, the discouragement, the defeat. All the happy, uplifted feelings I’d come home with drained away like water out of a bathtub.
The snow melted. This morning, the sun is out; the grass is blindingly green; I can see fat buds forming on my lilac bush as I type. Spring is here, after all.
Today I understand we’re not responsible for that organization’s conflict, or its solution. I have peace about praying for all parties concerned and leaving it with the Lord.
Now it would seem our condo escaped serious flood damage which happened to the north and west of us. As we saw after hurricane Iniki, Kauai is an incredibly resilient place. We can contribute to and pray for recovery, but that, too, is out of our hands.
And, best of all, I think the doctors are finally zeroing in on a solution. At last, I’ve heard a possible diagnosis. I’m taking a new medication that’s helping a lot. Best still, I think we might finally know the “name of the beast,” and how to fight it when it flares. Such relief!
Yes, “the other side of the mountain” is a difficult place. The world, the flesh and the devil await with all their problems, temptations and complications. But I don’t have to be afraid…
Because the same Lord Who welcomed me on the mountaintop walks with me on the other side.
Jesus is here, too.