There is a place at the top of the mountains in Switzerland where one can stand and see nothing but pure, untouched beauty. Heaven’s sun kisses earth’s snowy peaks with brilliant light until they radiate whiteness. The air is crisp and clean. Every cell in your body comes alive with invigorating breaths.
It is a steep climb to reach the top, which in winter is only accessible by lift or helicopter, but from this place where three nations intersect, one can ski down a southern slope into Italy or a western one into France. The villages seem like storybook pictures below, so tiny and peaceful from a heightened vantage point!
I have been to the Swiss Alps twice: once in Spring, on a month-long retreat with the Lord; and once in winter, at the invitation of a friend. My friend’s father was a diplomat, holding various properties around the world which he rarely used. It was on this trip that God had somehow deposited me at the top of the Alps, surrounded by the Matterhorn, Mont Blanc, and Mont Fort; places I had only seen pictures of as a girl.
My friends had already begun their swift descent back down the slopes into the village. For a few moments I stood, amazed and blissfully alone in the thin, chilly air, surveying the mountains. Such beauty! Such glorious perspective! How could one not want to stay here forever, I wondered?
THE MOUNTAINS OF ISRAEL
The imagery of the mountains fills the pages of God’s Word. There are more than 400 references to mountains in the Bible, including Mount Sinai, where God meets with Moses; Mount Carmel, where Elijah defeats the Baals; Mount Zion, the City of David which becomes the location of Solomon’s Temple; the Mount of Olives, where Jesus ascends into heaven; and Mount Tabor, the mount of Transfiguration. Some scholars believe that Eden was also located on the “mountain of God,” its river branching down into four tributaries that watered the earth. (Ezekiel 28.)
Mountains are meant to point us to God, to draw our human hearts toward spiritual ascent. Psalm 24:3-4 reads: “Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord? Who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart; who does not trust in an idol or swear by a false god.”
Since the beginning of time, mankind has longed for “mountaintop experiences;” places where heaven meets earth, we regain perspective, and we encounter the divine. It is no surprise, then, that the Lord Himself speaks of feeding His people on the mountains:
“‘For this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I myself will search for my sheep and look after them. As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on a day of clouds and darkness. I will bring them out from the nations and gather them from the countries, and I will bring them into their own land. I will pasture them on the mountains of Israel, in the ravines and in all the settlements in the land. I will tend them in a good pasture, and the mountain heights of Israel will be their grazing land. There they will lie down in good grazing land, and there they will feed in a rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. I myself will tend my sheep and have them lie down, declares the Sovereign Lord. I will search for the lost and bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak, but the sleek and the strong I will destroy. I will shepherd the flock with justice.’” (Ezekiel 34:11-15, NIV)
Ezekiel’s prophecy is fulfilled when Christ comes and begins to preach in Galilee. At the very start of His ministry, Jesus ascends one of the nearby hills to preach the “Sermon on the Mount” to the crowds who follow Him. He feeds those who ascend with Him to meet God.
COME AND SEE!
Throughout this year, I prophesied that 2020 was a year to “see and decree.” As the year progressed, however, it became increasingly true that our “sight” in the natural world was being severely limited. Clearly, the Lord’s idea of “vision” differed from ours!
Global political turmoil and the pandemic closed off entire nations. Churches - the only places where some people “see” God - closed their doors. This holiday season, some families and communities have been locked away even from seeing each other!
Just this week, four out of five of us in my own family contracted COVID-19, causing us to close our own doors in quarantine. In a tiny New England home with only one bathroom, our family has had to separate ourselves even from each other, to avoid contaminating the one person who remains healthy. The stress and pressure of our situation has been a challenge for this mom, to say the least!
One morning, after experiencing blinding headaches and physical pain myself from this virus, I was awakened by the Presence of the Lord Jesus in my room. “Come with Me,” He said, and He brought me, in a vision, to a high mountain.
I recognized the location immediately: it was the place where I had stood, more than 30 years ago, in the Swiss Alps. My spirit soared! For some time that morning, I encountered not the natural beauty of the mountains, but the beauty of communion - intimate fellowship - with the Lord Jesus Christ.
Friends, we all have a standing invitation to return to the mountains of the Lord. The enemy can close the doors to the nations and to our communities, but he cannot close the door to our hearts! When your sight is limited; when your situation seems impossible, when your body is racked with pain, Jesus searches for you. He is the Good Shepherd who feeds His flocks on the mountains. The doorway of your heart is a gateway into His glory!
Those glorious moments in Christ’s Presence brought me rest and peace in the middle of a painful trial. Time with Jesus - whether in His Word, in worship, or in the Spirit - always refreshes me and renews my vision.
The ministry of the Spirit is available to all believers who purify both hands and hearts in a sincere desire to ascend with Him! For those who are willing, the Lord is releasing new perspectives and causing us to soar above the storms.
I will write more about what I see for 2021 in the coming weeks. Much of it has to do with our willingness to soar with Him. Yet for today, I hear the Shepherd whispering: “Tell them to come to Me here! Come and meet with Me on the mountain of the Lord! I will feed you. I will heal you. I will give you rest. I will strengthen you, and your vision will be restored.”
May it be as He has said, for each of you!
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A severe hearing loss from childhood caused Deborah Perkins to develop what she now calls her secret weapon: tuning in to God's voice. A Wellesley College graduate and an award-winning writer, Deborah is now a wife and mother of 3 boys. Deborah has devoted over 25 years to professional and lay Christian ministry in New England and beyond. Her passion is inspiring people to cultivate greater intimacy with God.