Thought For The Week
"It is not a race to the top of the mountain. It never is. It is the pace you set and the step you take that gets you there. The changing landscape on every mountain determines the climb. Some paths are gentle and take little effort, other paths are difficult and testing" ~Therese Keville
Mountain and hill climbing has become hugely popular in recent years. Much of it happens within a group or club. There is a great sense of achievement, friendships are made and the health benefits of course make it all worthwhile. We sometimes hear of mountain rescue teams who have to go in search of someone who has fallen or has got lost up some high mountain. Carrauntoohil in Co. Kerry is often mentioned. Usually these trips were done with little planning, those who were rescued did not carry enough warm clothes, who ignored weather warnings and who lacked experience. They would also have decided not to travel with a group or team leader who knew the safest way and safest path up these difficult mountains.
Life can sometimes be like climbing a mountain too. Sometimes the challenges seem to tower up over us and it all seems too much. But every mountain will have its paths. The ones that go straight up are not always the best option to take. The paths that wind their way around and up and over are always the best ones to take. The seemingly quickest option is not always the best one. The pathways that gently wind their way up, definitely take much longer but are worth it in the end. There is also more time to enjoy the views too.
Our Scripture readings remind us how God journeys with us along these pathways too, guiding us, supporting us and encouraging us. Scripture is a collection of many stories. Some of them make little sense to us and some really resonate with our story and make much sense. William Sloane sums it up well by reflectively saying: "God provides minimum protection and maximum support." We sometimes ask why God allows suffering, tragedies, sickness and dreadfully sad stories to happen. We then feebly try and explain it all by saying it is God's will. But we can't go there. Great theologians tell us that we cannot hold God responsible for the evil and pain in our world. Bad things happen and will continue to happen. But they are not the work of God.
In a random universe, God's design is to be present with us and support us through the troubles we face. We can turn to God with confidence who will help us to be strong and who will give us courage through what is difficult and impossible. Even when we make bad choices or mistakes, God will never leave us alone. Whatever path you are on today, know that the energy of God is there too to gently guide, direct and help you with your life journey.