August 2: Mountain Highways

“And I will turn all my mountains into a road,and my highways shall be raised up.” Isaiah 49:11 | NRSV

God will make obstacles serve His purpose. We all have mountains in our lives. There are people and things that threaten to bar our progress in the Divine life. Those heavy claims, that uncongenial occupation, that thorn in the flesh, that daily cross—we think that if only these were removed we might live purer, tenderer, holier lives; and often we pray for their removal.

Meet thy trials in Him. There is nothing in life which harasses and annoys that may not become subservient to the highest ends. They are His mountains. He puts them there. We know that God will not fail to keep His promise. “God understandeth the way thereof and knoweth the place thereof. For he looketh to the ends of the earth, and seeth under the whole heaven”; and when we come to the foot of the mountains, we shall find the way.—F. B. Meyer (Streams in the Desert)

I prefer shortcuts and quick fixes, but neither play a role in kingdom growth. God intends His kingdom to grow inside of us as well as in the world. Before we arrive at “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done,” we must be on intimate terms with Father, and relationship results from the crucible of testing. St. Paul understood this when he cried out: “I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death” (Philippians 3:10 | NRSV). We never love what we do not endeavor to learn. Every mountain is an opportunity to expand our knowledge and love of the Father. Self-reliance builds callouses, but tough times strip away independence, leaving me vulnerable and teachable.

“Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:29 | NRSV)

“God does not give us overcoming life: He gives us life as we overcome. The strain is the strength. If there is no strain, there is no strength. Are you asking God to give you life and liberty and joy? He cannot, unless you will accept the strain. Immediately you face the strain, you will get the strength.” (O. Chambers)

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