“I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.”
A three-for-one mystery, this mantra of theology doesn’t typically find difficulty in interpretation amongst the flock of the Good Shepherd. But it’s easy to overlook the infinitely vast implications of this cornerstone of theology.
The Way indicates a journey; a walk from point A to point B. An adventure, a story, with chapters and eras, periodic winters and times of bloom. And thankfully for us, a Master Author writes the novel of our lives. I can only sigh in relief at the thought.
I laughed when I first heard the term “Christian-ese.” An entire lexicon structured around faith-based concepts such as “a proverbs 31 woman,” or “stumbling blocks.” The metaphors of mountains and valleys are a resounding timbre echoing through the Christian walk.
God always “poked” the earth on a mountain: Sinai, Ararat, Carmel, Olivet, Hermon, etc. Israel being the “city on a hill,” you start to piece together that God likes ’em. In the ancient days, the pagan cultures surrounding Israel believed their God to be the “god of the mountains”
But like I said, Master Author/ Genial Poet that the Lord is, mountains in our lives are a deep symbol.
At the peak of a mountain you get the best view. There is clarity, and you can eye where it is you’re going. You can see point B before you, point A behind. The warmth of the sun is welcomed after what was likely a cold and harsh trek up rugged terrain. There at the crest lies the richness of victory and the resolution of triumph.
But the Living God is a God of movement. And staying here forever will not do, especially when you see higher peaks in the distance.. point B beyond them. John, James and Peter followed Jesus up a mountain and saw Him for who He was, but Jesus would not settle for a tabernacle.
Surely there is more. .. and so begins the descent.
As much as we won’t like leaving behind the sweet fruit of arduous labors… there is more. More to do, more to see, more to become; my God of marvelously orchestrated plans has written more.
The descent can be scary, .. you lose the view.. suddenly point B is not within sight anymore. Our purpose loses its high-definition and we are called to follow the voice of a Shepherd,
and boy.. you gotta stay close.
Rain becomes a dangerous thing in the descent, you see it floods here. Whereas on the peak behind we had breached the clouds. We must walk through the earth after tasting heaven. But my main Man Jesus knows what it is.
The valley can be a positive experience. The descent is scary, but then you find rivers, lush verdant life, and green pastures to lie in following He who knows the way, IS the Way. But we’re on our way to the foot of the next mountain that Lord plans to put under our feet,
and I’ve gotten caught distracted in a valley.. and before I knew it.. it was raining. You can enjoy the Way through the valley, but its a famously straight-and-narrow kind of route.
You can spend too much time in the shade in the valley, and forget that mountain experience basking in the glory of the Son. But the base of the next mountain reminds us intently, and if you have a few mountains behind you.. it can almost be exciting. That shot of adrenaline I attribute to the Holy Spirit, and the angst for what lies at the top.
Every valley shall be filled in, and every mountain and hill made low. The crooked ways shall be made straight, and the rough ways smooth.
I will lead the blind by a way they did not know; I will guide them on unfamiliar paths. I will turn darkness into light before them and rough places into level ground. These things I will do for them, and I will not forsake them.
Blessed are those whose strength is in you, whose hearts are set on pilgrimage. As they pass through the Valley of Baka, they make it a place of springs; the autumn rains also cover it with pools. They go from strength to strength, till each appears before God in Zion.
Take heart, for the Lord is for you, He is the Way through this journey, the Way that He meant for you. Take a faithful step in the direction of His voice and watch Him set mountains underfoot, one by one, strength to strength. Remember always:
Thank you God, you make me brave.