Cynthia L. Eppley 08/25/2021
We recently enjoyed a 2 week vacation in California and the Pacific Northwest. Nothing changes your perspective like getting away from home.
Pennsylvania is a large state and has many ecosystems. On one side of the state you may find wetlands and flat open fields. Drive West and you’ll find roads nestled between mountains and valleys.
One feature of our home are the trees which surround us. They guard our home in the hot summer, shielding us from the intense heat.
In the Fall, they are a riot of color.
But our trees also block our view of our surroundings.
In order to see an impending storm, I have to go to one bank of windows and look to the Northwest. A dark, looming cloud foreshadows rain and wind.
In the evening, I see glimpses of the sunset filtering through the Spruce trees behind our home.
I often long for an unobstructed view to marvel at the shades of pink, yellow, and purple.
Aunt Marie and Valleys
Aunt Marie lived in El Paso, TX. It was an area of wide open spaces. When she would come to visit my parents in New Jersey, she felt overshadowed. She couldn’t get her bearings because a trip was often covered by trees.
Give her a thruway and she might have an idea of direction and purpose. Give her open fields!
And we know that East Coast roads are winding and curving, unlike the straight open roads near El Paso.
It unsettled her.
Valleys in life can unnerve us and we lose perspective. We feel closed in.
I knew the mountains of the West Coast would be towering and snow covered.
The Olympic National Park boasts of Hurricane Ridge. To get there, you must navigate a long arduous journey of switchbacks along the side of steep cliffs.
We held our breath, looking down, and prayed that the transmission and brakes would hold.
“High above Port Angeles, Hurricane Ridge provides the most popular access to Olympic National Park. A paved road twists and turns 17 mi (27 km) up a steep 7-percent grade to the mile-high summit, where, on a clear day, you can gape at the breathtaking 360-degree views of mountain, valley, and sea.” (roadtripusa.com)
And what a view.
On our drive up, we had mere glimpses of the summit. But at the top, we felt like we were on top of the world. In June, there were still snow covered peaks. We felt like we were in Switzerland.
I wanted to spread my arms and turn slowly around singing:
“The hills are alive, with the sound of music!”
Perhaps on a mountaintop we can see clearly. The mundane of ordinary days fall away and we can see a clearer picture.
God of the Mountains and the Valleys
And so we have both.
Mountains and valleys give us a different perspective, don’t they?
1 Kings 20:28 The man of God came up and told the king of Israel, “This is what the Lord says: ‘Because the Arameans think the Lord is a god of the hills and not a god of the valleys, I will deliver this vast army into your hands, and you will know that I am the Lord.’”
Psalm 121: I will lift up my eyes to the hills–From whence comes my help? My help comes from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth. He will not allow your foot to be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber.
A recent Song by Tauren Wells combines both of these experiences and speaks of both the hills and the valleys:
On the mountains, I will bow my life to the One who set me there In the valley, I will lift my eyes to the One who sees me there When I’m standing on the mountain I didn’t get there on my own When I’m walking through the valley I know I am not alone You’re God of the hills and valleys, hills and valleys God of the hills and valleys And I am not alone.
God of the Hills and Valleys
On the mountain top we know God as Creator and Sustainer. In the valley, He is the lifter of my head. He is the God of the hills and valleys. I am not alone.