To Get to the Top We All Need a
Little Lot of Help
Years ago my wife, Tawnia, and I got to check off an item on our bucket list. Or more accurately, my bucket list (the expression on her face says it all). We climbed to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania – the highest peak of Africa and one of the Seven Summits of the world.
After several days of serving at a mission located at the base of the mountain, we began our 4-day ascent, determined to get to the top. And we were fortunate to be among the 50% that make it to the pinnacle of “Kili,” as it’s called. It was a fabulously challenging experience.
Tawnia and I agree that there is no way we could have ever reached the summit without help. No way. In fact, we probably would have died trying. It was only because of the expertise of our guide, Hamisi, that we got to the top – 19,340 feet up in the air.
At that altitude, all sorts of things can go wrong with your body. The night before our final push, a man staying in our camp passed away from an altitude-induced complication, causing fluid to fill his lungs. They zipped him up in a mummy sleeping bag and on a makeshift gurney, wheeled his body back down the rugged mountain trail.
But thanks to Hamisi and his team of porters, we got to touch the top, take our pictures in front of the sign, and then scurry back down to lower altitudes and easier breathing. We will always credit Hamisi for our successful summit.
I was reminded of this epic experience recently when I read Psalm 24, where David asks this question:
Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in his holy place? v. 3
In other words, approaching God is like climbing a high mountain. Since He dwells way up in a lofty and holy place, in order to get near to Him, to touch the top, certain things are required. David answers the question:
He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully. v.4
I don’t know about you but when I read these requirements for ascending “the hill of the Lord,” I realize I have a problem. If I’m honest, I cannot say that my hands are “clean” or that my heart is “pure.” I need some help here.
And this is where Jesus comes into the picture.
Like Hamisi, Jesus is the critical piece, the one who makes our ascent possible. When we place our trust in him as Savior and Guide, we go to the top on his back. The apostle Paul explains,
For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ. – II Corinthians 5:21
To gain a relationship with God does not require that we do steps 1-3 perfectly, but rather that we put our confidence in what Jesus has already done perfectly for us. Because of Him, we can reach the Summit of all summits.
When the climb of your life is steep and exhausting, thank God, help is available.
It’s a new day with God. Run with it.