Thursday, August 20, 2015

The View From the Lions' Den

My grandparents have a ranch in southern Utah where I've spent most of my childhood summers. During college, my brothers and I drove there almost monthly. As a result of our frequent trips, the trails we had hiked for so many years started to lose their excitement. We needed some new challenges, so we started climbing to the tops of the mountains surrounding the ranch's valley.

I will never forget the first time I reached a summit. We had climbed up the side and back of the mountain and could not see the valley below at all during our ascent. At one point, my brother and I scaled the side of the sandstone to reach the next ledge. He lost his footing, and I ducked right as a huge chunk of sandstone flew over my head and shattered below.

The path was unknown, dangerous at times, and exhausting. But eventually we made it. And as we made our way to the edge of the peak, the valley and canyons below came suddenly and breathtakingly into view.

I have never seen the Ranch from that angle before and it was more beautiful than I ever could have imagined. Only the climb could bring this new perspective.

As I continue to battle some of my lions, I have found great comfort as I come to understand God's power inside the lions' den (as I explained in an earlier post) and the view from the other side.

On a particularly hard day, I remembered this song I'd heard at a women's conference last year. As I listened again to the lyrics I realized that what feels like an uphill battle is exactly that, and it's bring me up-hill.

And when I conquer the summit I will see a beautiful and breathtaking view of my life and of others' lives as well. I will see from a new perspective, one that never would have been possible without the climb. I will realize God's plan for my life is more magnificent than I ever could have imagined.

I know, because nature's summits and life's summits always have that effect.

Every fear, every doubt, all the pain I went through
Was the price that I paid to see this view
Now that I'm here I would never trade
The grace that I feel and the faith that I find
Through the bittersweet tears and the sleepless nights
I used to pray He'd take it all away
But instead it became
A beautiful heartbreak

I never dreamed my heart would make it
And I thought about turning around
But Heaven has shown me miracles
I never would have seen from the ground

King Darius signed a decree which altereth not. A stone was rolled in front of the lions' den and sealed that the purpose might not be changed concerning Daniel. And yet, he was saved and he had an incredible experience in the process.

Sometimes the difficulties in our lives feel unalterable, like the fate is already sealed. But God has power over the unalterable, the unchangeable, the unfixable. Nothing is more final that death, and Christ proved He even has power over that.

Christ our Redeemer can redeem any broken heart, broken life, or broken situation. Nothing is unalterable in the face of His power. Eventually the summit will come into view and it will be worth every heart wrenching step of the climb.

While this hope is comforting, there is also hope inside the lions' den. Trials and blessings are not mutually exclusive, and as Elder Jeffrey R. Holland recently declared, "Also let us remember that through any illness or difficult challenge, there is still much in life to hopeful about and grateful for. We are infinitely more than our limitations and our afflictions!"

And so let us change our view from inside, and look forward to the view from on top.