As I was leaving Cusco, Peru at the end of June, it was a very bittersweet moment.
I had just experienced an excellent short-term project. We did impact and outreach events to touch hundreds of lives. We dedicated two brand new churches to God. I heard the wonderful new believers of the churches I helped to start share from their hearts, “We have to fill this church.” But I had to say goodbye to these wonderful people who had become my family.
But I was so excited to be going home. Chipotle, Graeter’s, friends, and family. Come on, that’s exciting.
With all these mixed emotions, it was a tough moment.
So I was flying out of Cusco with all these feelings, looking down on the mountains that I had seen a thousand times.
Now the city of Cusco is set in a valley; the valley itself is at 11,000 feet above sea level. That is really high. You get to Cusco, and you have trouble breathing and headaches because of the altitude. And on either side of the city are just these amazing mountains.
Flying over them, I got to see the view from above. I started thinking about the times I have hiked them, and other people I have heard talk about climbing the mountains. I am not a very good hiker. I mean, one time when I climbed a mountain, I ended up falling down it. And I have come to the conclusion that no one actually LIKES hiking. Why would you? Your lungs burn and you can’t breathe. Your legs hurt and burn and you think one more step might kill you! There is NO WAY anyone actually enjoys that! The ONLY reason someone goes hiking is to reach the top, because when you get to the top, the view is incredible.
I remembered some of the stories I’ve heard about hiking though. Guys started climbing, and they went off the path, and they thought they got to the top, with the rush of excitement that comes with it…just to look over and see that the actual peak of the mountain was next to them, further up. They had only made it to the false peak.
I saw the paths leading up to the top of the mountain from above as I flew out of Cusco that day. I looked down, and saw the peaks, but I also saw the false peaks. It would be easy to be climbing, and think you got to the top, just to discover you only made it to a false peak…
And I started to wonder, what if our spiritual lives are EXACTLY like that?
What if we haven’t yet reached the HEIGHT of what it means to know God? Really know who He is, and know his Word. Even if we have been Christians for decades, what if there is higher to go?
What if we are not yet at the peak of what it means to love God with all of our hearts, souls, minds, and strengths? What if there’s farther to go?
What if we can still go higher in what it means to serve God, and live by faith, and love our neighbors?
What if we are just at a false peak?
What if there is higher to go in being filled completely with the Holy Spirit? I love what Francis Chan says in his book Forgotten God: “I want to depend so completely on the Holy Spirit, that if He doesn’t come through, I won’t make it.” What if we can step out even more in faith, in giving, and in loving?
Because if there is one thing I know about hiking, it’s that the view is SO MUCH BETTER from the top.
**I want to pray for you, whoever is reading this blog right now:
Lord, thank you for who you are, and the way you transform lives. We have to just stand in awe of you, because you are the Cosmic God of the Universe, the Creator of more than 350 billion galaxies. And yet you know each one of us, even down to how many hairs we have on our heads. You are amazing God. And right now, I pray for the one reading this, that he or she would keep seeking that peak of what it means to know you, love you and serve you. We know we are not there yet, but we want to keep going higher with you. Because we really want to see that view you have for us when we reach the top. Amen.**