Crystal Writes A Blog

A place to read what Crystal writes

Out of Thin Air


Pike's Peak 14,110 Feet by Flickr User carfull...Cowboy State-r, CC License = Attribution, Noncommercial, No Derivative Works

Pike’s Peak 14,110 Feet by Flickr User carfull…Cowboy State-r, CC License = Attribution, Noncommercial, No Derivative Works
Click image to open a new tab/window to view the original image and to access the user’s full photo stream at Flickr.

Tonight, I’m digging out an old article from 2004 and revamping it for my blog. I hope you enjoy the devotion.

From John 4:24, New King James Version, we read…God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.

I was on edge during the entire drive.  No: Really!  The car was much closer to the edge of that winding mountain road than I was comfortable with.  So, all the way up to Pike’s Peak, the highest mountain in Colorado, I rode with white knuckles and my fingers gripping the edge of my seat. I’ve never liked being in a car on a mountain road because the edge always seems closer than I want it to, and I worry about someone coming down and both vehicles not being able to fit.

As we neared the peak, I began to feel increasingly irritable.  It became almost uncontrollable and totally unlike my normal personality. Nevertheless, when we reached the summit, my bad attitude was temporarily diverted by something I found to be quite odd.  I noticed that, for some reason, all the trees were suddenly gone, but I didn’t ask anyone why. I just walked around and tried to get some peace in my spirit while enjoying the scenery, including the rock with the words of America The Beautiful etched into it. Apparently, the writer, Katharine Lee Bates, penned the lyrics after a visit there.

I looked across the span of mountain peaks and valleys below us.  There seemed to be a distinct point where the tree growth stopped.  It was as if they had all hit an invisible barrier. I guessed that maybe it was just too cold when it got that high up, and I went into the gift shop to warm myself. I worked on making the visit enjoyable, and I felt better in the gift shop, but I still wanted to get back down off that mountain.

As we twisted and turned along the same mountain road on the way down, I spoke up right when we started seeing trees again. I questioned why the trees just quit growing, and though I didn’t share it, I noticed I was starting to feel a little bit better. I guessed it was just because we were finally headed back to civilization. Anyway, brother-in-law who was driving answered my wonderings about the trees.  He told me they were gone because we had passed the “timberline” or “tree line,” the elevation at which the oxygen level was too thin for any significant growth.

Now the mental wheels began to turn faster than the car’s wheels.  I could see a spiritual parallel to this physical timberline.  I looked down into the valleys and noticed that the greatest growth seemed to happen closer to the bottoms of the mountains than at their tops.  Click.  The wheels began to lock into place. Maybe the “mountaintop experiences” we so often desired of God were elusive for a reason.  Maybe where I thought I would find more God–up high–was actually a parallel to the thinner atmosphere and He just didn’t “hang out” up there as much as I’d imagined.

By the time we got halfway down the mountain and stopped to visit another gift shop, I was feeling worlds better, and I found out why. Lower levels of oxygen can cause hypoxia and what is called Altitude Sickness. At that time, I still had undiagnosed and untreated sleep apnea, so I’m certain that didn’t help any either.

Anyway, since God is a Spirit, and Scripture says (in Job 34:14-15) that He is the breath of all mankind, He is basically our oxygen. With or without sleep apnea, all of us need to be where there is more oxygen because the better we breathe, the better we feel. This is true both physically and spiritually. As I processed all this new information, I also realized that the valleys not only had more oxygen, they had more warmth.  Both of these are important factors of God’s presence. In addition to the fact that more oxygen creates more growth, more growth creates more oxygen–just as growing Christians produce more of the presence of God.

It is in the valleys, more than on the mountaintops, where we will find God producing more growth–and growth producing more of God’s presence in our lives.  It’s no wonder King David was able to declare, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me“. Yes, I was glad to get back down from that mountain, but I will always cherish the experience and what I learned from it.  Isn’t it amazing what God can help us pull out of thin air?

Enjoy this video of As the Mountains are Around Jerusalem by the group Lamb

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October 20, 2014 - Posted by | Devotion, Nonfiction | , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

2 Comments »

  1. I really enjoyed this post! Love the parallel you pulled from this. I’ve been to Pike’s Peak a few times and absolutely love the view!

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Lisa Preuett | October 20, 2014 | Reply

    • Thank you, Lisa. It thrills me to see images of God’s personality and wisdom in the world around me. It’s like all these little ways He speaks to remind us of His presence.

      And the view from Pike’s Peak was fantastic. I wish my brain hadn’t become so hypoxic. It took away some of the joy, but I can always say I’ve been there. 🙂

      Like

      Comment by Crystal A Murray | October 20, 2014 | Reply


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