The other day I looked out my window at the mountains. They surround my little "world" on three sides, south, east and north. On the west is the inlet. 

One of the reasons we Alaskans love our state is because of these great mountains and their beauty. On a clear day we can even get a good view of the highest mountain in North America...Mt. McKinley, or "Denali" as the Indians called it ...which means "the high one". 

What does one do with a mountain? Other than looking at it as a magnificent view, one can attempt to climb it, mine its hidden treasures, ski its slopes, or preserve the view in paintings and pictures.

All in all, we enjoy these massive giants and often stand in awe at their towering peaks. But mountains represent far more. They emerge on our landscape because of the tremendous pressures underneath as Teutonic plates collide and vie for room. They are the result of earth's restless upheavals.

Once, during a time of weeping before the Lord, I went into a vision. I was standing on my feet, looking down at the Grand Canyon. It too was the result of earth's ever-changing and restless quest. Thousands of feet below me lay a river bed that had once felt itself gouged and broken apart as incalculable forces tore apart the landscape. I said to myself, "I feel just like that...gouged and broken apart". 

Just then I heard a voice that said, "Yes, but think of the millions of people who come to this place to admire its beauty and give Me praise at what I have done". 

This jarred my moment of self-pity. Had I ever thought that the trials and disappointments of life could be looked at as forces shaping us into a thing of beauty; that without them, we would have no victories to emerge testimonies for the world to hear.  

From that time, I began to look at life differently...from His perspective. 
"All things work together for good.." could not have been a very comforting scripture when facing loss of loved ones, battles with cancer, struggles and disappointment. Yet I realized I was looking at my mountains and valleys as representing formidable barriers and hardships, testimonies to failures and struggles, when all along, God was taking my barren land and creating a masterpiece of beauty. Only when I stood to see it in His eyes could I understand and come to appreciate the reasons for it all.

 I know now that there is a restless planet in all of us, constantly being shaped by an unseen hand.  And those peaks that reach for the sun...the highest ones, are there because they did not give up and slide beneath earth's crust, but fought for that position and won. They are the "Denalis" we paint on the canvas of our lives.

We must choose to know God in such a way that we accept and even embrace trials and tribulation...not as reflecting His unconcern and abandonment, but as part of a glorious plan to shape and mold us and let us rise to the heights for His glory. For it is also inside these massive mountains that gems of diamonds, rubies, gold and silver are formed. 

Yesterday a friend sent me a little letter that talked along these lines. The last part of it said this:

"A strong person has faith that he or she is strong enough for the journey. But a man or woman of strength has faith that it is in the journey that they will become strong."