Union Ridge Church

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

by Reverend Dan on September 28, 2022
Every once in a while, the anointing of God falls on you in such a powerful way that you get a glimpse of heaven. In the midst of what has been a trying year, God has blessed me to spend the last few days seeing life from the mountaintop. I know I’ll have to come down eventually, but oh what a view my eyes – and my heart - were opened to see. I know there are times we live in the valley, times mostly of our own doing, caused by our choices. But then the hand of mercy reaches down and helps us to climb up and climb out into the light of a new day. And I’m reminded once again that the words of the old song are true: “even in the valley God is good.”

When the walls of life close in on me, I have two places where I go to find peace: the beach and the mountains. This time, on a perfect fall day, it was the mountains. The leaves were just beginning to change, the air was cool, and I headed to a place here in North Carolina called Hanging Rock. But I didn’t go alone. I knew I had some wrongs to right, so I spent the day driving and hiking and climbing . . . and listening. It was both humbling and freeing. When we got to the top of the mountain and stepped out on the rock, the enormity of what was in front of me was overwhelming. Down at the welcome center, they said if you climb to the top, you can see 3,000 square miles. What I saw were walls that had been closing in on me (the ones I put up to protect my heart) start to crumble. You see, you can’t look out at the expanse of that view and believe it just happened. At least I couldn’t. Instead, I was reminded of a God who is bigger than my fears and my tears. And a grace that is greater, so the song goes, than all our sin. A God Who is good and wants us to always remember the healing glory of His presence and His power. And at that moment, through forgiveness and trust, hearts and lives began to realign themselves with love.

A few days later, still on the mountaintop, a few of my favorite singers and musicians (Robin, Darren, and Randy) came to minister to us at church. As soon as they started singing, I realized God was still working in me. They were only about halfway through the first song – “Oh, What a Reason” – and I was wiping my eyes. Then the second song – “Sometimes it Takes a Mountain” – and I was back up at the top of Hanging Rock, remembering how hard the climb was, but realizing it was worth the effort. “Sometimes it takes a mountain, sometimes a troubled sea, sometimes it takes a desert, to get a hold of me. Your love is so much stronger, than whatever troubles me, sometimes it takes a mountain to trust you and believe.” They kept singing and this time God brought the mountaintop to me: “I Know a Man Who Can” and “His Eye is on the Sparrow.”

When I stood up to preach, I looked down at my notes – I was finishing up a sermon series about “Forgiveness” – and the first line talked about the time a man once asked me, “Ever felt like God didn’t care?” Every paragraph after that synced up perfectly with the songs they had sung. I had no idea before they started what they were singing, and they didn’t know what I was preaching about. But God knew, and the whole morning we stood on top of that mountain of God’s mercy and grace and felt the sunshine of forgiveness and hope. His presence and His promise.

If you ever wonder if God cares, don’t. Three nails and a cross prove He does. And so does His presence, even in the smallest of things; a hike up a mountain, and a Sunday morning service at a little country church.