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When You Cannot See the Mountain


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Our little city of Mae Sai has so many beautiful features it’s almost hard to accurately depict. You don’t need to drive very long outside the quaint city before you find yourself amidst rice fields and small villages with wooden houses on stilts. One of my favorite features of Mae Sai is the small range of mountains that loom in the near distance. They aren’t just plain boring mountains (although, do those even exist?). They are called Doi Nang Non, or Mountain of the Sleeping Lady, aptly named for the silhouette that is formed by the group of mountains. There are days when the mountains look lush and green. They look so close that it seems like you could walk a kilometer and arrive ready to explore the caves and waterfalls. They are large and very alive.
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Next month hails the start of what we affectionately call “burning season”. Even now, the smoke from the farmers burning their fields both here in Thailand and across the border in Myanmar is beginning to form a sort of haze that makes the mountains seem more distant. By the end of next month you won’t even be able to tell that there is a mountain there. The smoke in the air will be so thick, registering as “hazardous” on the air quality scale, that it will seem like the mountain doesn’t even exist. If you didn’t know the mountain was there, it would seem like this little valley must go on forever.

For most people I know, 2020 would be described as a valley. A valley with sinking sand surprises scattered throughout, insurmountable hurdles, and pain at every turn. We all heard the phrase “2021 is a new year! Surely it will be better!” Only to turn the calendar page and realize it’s more of the valley. It seems as if you can’t see the mountain! Surely it’s here somewhere. It has to be soon! Maybe it’s right in front of you but it’s completely covered in smoke and it seems as if your valley is never ending.

I don’t know how long your specific valley goes on for, but I DO know that the One who created you knows exactly where your mountain is and where your valley ends. He also knows WHY you are in the valley and what plan He has to accomplish in you through that journey. In her book Calm My Anxious Heart, Linda Dillow says, “Worry doesn’t empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.” We often spend all of our energy looking for the mountain which we cannot see that we miss what God is trying to teach us in the valley. He desires to strengthen you and help you lean on Him more. One day, the rain will come, the smoke will clear, and there, waiting for you, will be a mountain. Until then, rest in His grace for today and understand that He holds you securely right where you are.
“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”Philippians 4:6-7
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Comments 1

  1. Thank you for the reminder Alyssa. I wouldn’t mind a few up close and personal moments with those beautiful mountains before the smoky haze of course. Praying for you all!

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