A mountaineer sits on an outcropping of rock on the peak of one of the mountains in the majestic Chugiak range in Alaska. It had been an arduous climb. Hour after hour of back-wrenching climbing, ever climbing, while muscles protest, bones resist, and a small voice plays its endless tune in his mind. “Why! are we doing this?” “Why are! we doing this?” “Why are we! doing this?” “Why are we doing this?”
But now he sits on the pinnacle of the mountain and savors this moment. The endless rhythmic song in his head is replaced with an extended sigh of contentment. The summit! There is none higher. The broad expanse of the blue sky is his canopy, and the world is a panoramic carpet beneath his feet. This is why climbers do this, for the triumph of this moment is more than worth the pain of the journey.
As he rests, a storm rapidly rolls in beneath him. Cloud masses flow through the valleys like a madly rushing river obscuring all but the tall peaks around him. It is an experience that few humans encounter and as he sits in the warm tranquil sunshine, beneath his feet, lightening flashes, thunder rolls and torrential rain pours down on the valley floor. The storm is gathering fury, and the winds rip off branches and scour the mountain path he so recently traversed. Above it all, still he sits in amazement at this wonder of nature.
Suddenly from within the dark rolling clouds and the confines of the storm, a mighty eagle breaks free, winging its way toward the sun. With a scream of triumph, it soars out of the tempest and rises into the sunlight, water on its wings glistening like diamonds.
On the back of a churning thermal, the eagle is effortlessly carried higher and higher. The storm is past and this majestic bird soars free above its baleful influence. Below, while animals scurried for shelter from the fury of the storm, the eagle was flying through the very heart of its ferocity, wings beating the air, its body whipped by the winds, struggling to gain its freedom, tossed and turned, through the locus of its violence, struggling ever upward, knowing that somewhere above there is sunshine and freedom.
The mountaineer sits in silent wonder, marveling at amazing power of God and His working with His creation. If there had been no storm, the eagle would rest easy, confined to the recesses of the deep valley. It was the power of the storm that drove it to wing its way toward the sunlight of heaven and freedom.
There is a strange dichotomy in heaven’s providence. In the infinite wisdom of God, the very violence of the storms of life are the catalyst that drives us heavenward to the sunshine of His love.
“Above the distractions of the earth He sits enthroned; all things are open to His divine survey; and from His great and calm eternity He orders that which His providence sees best.” 1
Friend, be thankful for those storms of life, for they are a part of God’s design to disturb your contentment with the spiritual valleys of life. The very struggle to exist, those daily trials that weigh you down, the constant harassment along the journey upward, carries in its bosom, the seeds of greatness of character.
God is preparing His heroes. Heaven’s temple will be an eternal hall of fame, decorated with the triumph of those very struggles you now despise. Don’t become discouraged in your struggles for you are now journeying to gain the heights of victory.
“Our God has heaven and earth at His command, and He knows just what we need. We can see only a little way before us; "but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of Him with whom we have to do." 2
1 Ellen G. White, Testimonies for the Church, vol. 8, p. 272, para. 1.
2 Hebrews 4:13.