Mount Everest is the highest mountain in the world. Its peak rests at 29,028 ft above sea level. The summit of this great mountain is the most uninhabitable place anyone can stand on the planet. The Oxygen levels become too low for anyone to survive at around 26,000ft. Above this altitude known as “the dead zone” the human body will literally begin to die. High altitude sickness sets in and the person will experience a slow, dramatic and painful death. This fact, however, is not the reason why MT. Everest is also known as the deadliest mountain in the world. Along with lung issues, frostbite, and temperatures that can literally freeze a person to death, the leading cause of death for a climber is avalanche followed by a fall. The ascent to reach the top of the world is truly one of the most challenging and dangerous in all the world. However, in 2001, Erik Weihenmayer climbed Mt Everest and made it to the summit. Erik and his team literally touched the top of the world. This is a tremendous accomplishment for anyone who is willing and able to scale the cliffs, walk the narrow ridges and cross the all of the great canyons along the way, but there is something more intriguing about Erik’s journey and that is: Erik Weihenmayer is completely blind.
In his book “Touch the Top of the World”, Erik relates his desire to reach this summit and he describes his quest as; A Blind Man’s Journey to Climb Farther than the Eye Can See. I have, for many years now been completely enamored by Eriks story. If the physical can ever be used to teach us about the spiritual, I believe this could be a perfect example of how to understand Hebrews 11:1. Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
Faith is dead without action (James 2:17). So then our action must be based on seeing beyond what is physically in front of us. The writer of the book of Hebrews lays this out for us in the 11th chapter. By faith the elders moved, acted upon and pursued after a promise that they themselves could not physically see. This blind faith is what caused God to count them “faithful” and gave them a “good report” (Heb 11:2). We can look at Eriks example in the physical and apply it to spiritual applications. We don’t have any faith in ourselves, but total faith in God. God is constantly calling us towards summits that are beyond our spiritual gifting’s and even beyond our physical limitations. I feel like we limit ourselves based on our handicaps. Erik could not have climbed any mountain let alone the highest and most deadly because he was blind. But for Erik, his “faith” was in believing that his handicap was not a road block but simply a hurdle. Erik refused to listen to the voices that told him “you can’t do it because you’re blind”.
We all have limitations and handicaps. We all have voices reminding us of all the reason why we cannot climb our mountain; “you don’t have enough money to begin that ministry in your church” or “your church is too small to fulfill your dream” or “you have tried before and failed” and I love this one “every time you walk in areas that are unknown, you are hurt by others and fail”. Any of these sound familiar? I know these are the voices that keep me off of my mountain and rob me from obtaining a “better” report.
Erik’s desire to reach the top of the world was greater than the voices that told him he couldn’t do it. Likewise, our desire to reach the mountain that God has called us should be strong enough to drown out the voices of that tell us why we cannot make it. Many men in the Bible had to ascend their own mountain in order to reach spiritual milestones in their walk with God. For Abraham it was Mt Moriah, for Moses is was Mt. Sinai, for Elijah it was Mt. Carmel, for Jesus it was Mt. Calvary, for the disciples it was Mt. Olives and on and on. Each one had to overcome serious obstacles, face all their fears and take the steps of faith to reach places with God that were beyond what they could see.
What Mountain has God called you to ascend? Is it beginning a new ministry within your church? Maybe you want to get involved in Bible Study teaching or even Missions work. I know that there are limitations, I know that there are things that are unknown and even the presence of fear…but consider the great patriarchs of old;
Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens…
Today is the day to begin the ascension to the next mountain peak in your life.
Remember this as you journey along the rugged road;
- The Greatest things in life are obtained with hard work and a strong resolve.
- No one, even those with talents and resources, will accomplish anything of true value without sacrifice and overcoming fear.
- Dream big…and live your dreams.
- Do not let the naysayers keep you from reaching new summits.
- Having vision to see farther than the eye can see is the catalyst to achievement.