And I walked with God to my mountain.
At the base of it lay a television, a racy advertisement playing across the screen. I walk over to it and pick it up, struggling with the surprising weight of it. Sweating and stumbling, I drop it at the feet of the Great I Am. Here God, I say.
I love you.
He says nothing, but points up the mountain. My mountain. What could he possibly with that? I’m confused but His presence is too great to ignore His desire. So we start climbing up the mountain. After a little while we come across my mirror. Oh, what a beautiful mirror it is, taller than the two of us put together. I love this mirror. God, I love it. It knows me well, and I adore the feeling it gives me. Looking back to make sure God’s watching, I pick up a rock and hurl it through the mirror. The glass implodes and shatters into a million pieces that soon litter the ground around us. I take a bow. But the Father of Lights doesn’t clap.
He points up the mountain further. What could you possibly want up there God? We both step over the glass shards and start climbing heavenward again. Soon we reach one of my favorite spots⸺my cave. We enter the darkness, but instantly the cave is filled with light, the glory of the Uncreated One permeating the cold and damp atmosphere. The light exposes hundreds of empty bottles covering much of the floor. See God, I say confidently; these are all empty. This is the past. He says nothing. Feeling like a child in the principal’s office I stomp over to the back wall and tear down a sheet. Shelves filled with bottles of all shapes and sizes⸺all unopened⸺is exposed. God, this isn’t what it looks like, I say. Sometimes I just need an escape. An escape. But suddenly I feel ashamed of my collection. I take a baseball bat and swing it again and again at the bottles, smashing them into worthless bits and chunks of false hope. And suddenly I’m angry. Why did you make me do that God? I throw down the bat, and sulk in the corner. But my Heavenly Father doesn’t come and comfort me, He points further up the mountain.
Further? Come on, God. There isn’t anything you want up there, trust me. He starts climbing up the mountain anyway, and so, grumbling⸺I chase after him. When I catch up to him we’re standing in front of a safe. Oh, so you want this too, huh? Fine. I open the safe, throw the money into a bag and throw it at the Maker of Mountains’ feet. He doesn’t even look at it. He looks higher up the mountain still. On we climb, getting higher and higher, the world around looking smaller and smaller. We climb for hours, nothing in sight but more mountain. Where are we going?
Finally, in the dusk of the evening, we reach a house, the brightness within it casting light and shadows around us as we near it. I know this house well. God, what would you want with this? I open the door and find smiling faces of friends and family, all laughing and enjoying their time together. They welcome me with open arms and loving words. But God doesn’t enter the house. He waits for me outside.
Not them, God. No.
No. But somehow, crying and screaming, I close the door and lock it, taking the key and throwing it down the mountain, watching it until it disappears. I fall to the ground weeping, my tears soaking the dust and making mud all around me. And one word slips from my lips⸺why.
Why? You’re leaving me with nothing.
Nothing. I feel empty, and bitterness threatens to break in, its knocks getting louder and louder. But the Shepherd reaches out for my hand. He looks upward. The mountain. More.
No God, I can’t. I can’t do this. I don’t have the strength to endure it any longer. I thought I could do this, but I just can’t anymore. I feel helpless, weak, fragile and numb; all these mixing into one powerful potion that paralyzes me until all I can do is cry and shake on the ground like a madman without his drugs. So am I. But God isn’t finished. He bends down and picks me up in his powerful arms of grace, and I feel both like a wretch and a child in his arms; a lover and a criminal; a monster and a bride. He carries me to the top of my mountain, and lets me down gently upon the wild grass that grows there, fondly blowing in the wind.
What’s up here God? There’s nothing here of value. What do you want? And then I see God point to something in the near distance, ominous and great.
I walk up to it slowly, examining its glory. It’s taller than me, made of the purest gold and diamonds. Oh how beautiful it is, how exquisite and lovely, how very precious to my mortal eyes. And then God speaks, for the first time since we began this mountainous journey.
“Do you love me?”
Love you? How could you even ask such a thing? I get angry, repulsed by the question. I shake my fist at God and scream. Do you know what I’ve given up for you? Do you know what I’ve done for you?
And these soft words cut like a knife in my heart. “Do you know what I’ve done for you? I wanted to climb this mountain for this purpose only, to have your time. Along the way, you became distracted with impressing me and pretending you loved me by destroying everything you thought I wanted, but I was only interested in you. You alone do I want. Yet you let other things along our journey distract you from where I wanted to go. I wanted us to climb this mountain for one reason only, to spend time with you at the top. Here, nothing else is visible. Here, nothing else matters. Here it is only you and I. Give me your time child, and I will cause everything else to fade. I don’t want your sacrifice, I want you.”
I want you.
And so I heave and I push against the large clock. I struggle against its greatness, for gold is heavy and I am but flesh and bones. Finally, amid blood and tears, the clock starts to sway, and with one final push it falls from its place on top of my mountain and bounces down the mountainside, crumbling and breaking as it did. And the sound of it breaking is the sweetest sound I’ve ever heard. I turn from viewing its ruin and face God. He stands there, smiling wider than I’ve ever seen before. I run to him yelling and screaming wildly like a small child in a game of chase.
And taking me by the hand, He leads me down my mountain.
Where are we going God?
“To my Mountain,” He replies, laughing. And off He dashes, like a deer in the meadow. And everything within me tells me to run after Him.
And so I do.
“When You said, “Seek My face,” my heart said to You, “Your face, O LORD, I shall seek.”
“Tremble, and do not sin; Meditate in your heart upon your bed, and be still.”
“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”