The rock

My wife Maria and I recently returned from a trip to Switzerland where we stayed with some friends who live by a lake. While there, I would often look out the window at the beautiful lake and surrounding mountains. There was one mountain in particular which stood out to me. It jutted up like a gigantic rock, and each morning when we opened the curtains, I would look at it and marvel at how majestically it towered over the lake.

Whenever I went in and out of the house, I’d pause for a few moments to take in the beautiful view and scenery, and would invariably end up focusing on the mountain. Some days, the sky was blue and clear, and the mountain seemed close enough to reach out and touch. One day, the top half of the mountain was covered in clouds, and all that could be seen were the trees which reached halfway up, while the rest was obscured. Another morning, because of fog, it wasn’t possible to see the mountain at all.

On our last morning in Switzerland, I was thinking about a number of friends and the various experiences and challenges they had been facing. One found himself fighting a severe life-threatening illness virtually from one day to the next, which required months of being in the hospital, uncertain whether he would recover or not. One couple had plans in place which would help them financially, but at the very last minute these fell through. Another was moving her family to another country without knowing all the details about how things would work out once she arrived. One couple’s Christian work, which they’d had for years, was coming to an end, and they didn’t yet know what God wanted them to do next. Another man lost his job at the same time as he and his wife were facing some sickness in their family, and he hadn’t yet been able to find a new one.

As I thought about these dear friends, and so many others who are faced with uncertainty, I was reminded of what I had observed while looking at the mountain over the previous days—how on some days the mountain was so clear, so obviously there, while on other days parts of it were obscure, and on the foggy day I couldn’t see it at all. And yet, whatever the weather, even when it couldn’t be seen, the mountain was there. Fog or clouds or raging storms might make it difficult to see, or even invisible, but it was still there, standing strong and immovable.

I was struck by the courage of these people and of countless others who face the uncertainties of life with deep faith, even when God’s presence in their lives is less evident. The Bible verse, “we walk by faith, not by sight”[2 Corinthians 5:7] came to mind. The fact is that, like the mountain, God, in all His majesty, is always there. Whether we see or feel Him is irrelevant to the fact that He is there. Through all the storms of our lives; through the times of uncertainty or confusion or weakened faith; through the fears, the questions, the doubts, the loss, He is there.

Sometimes things are bright and sunny in our lives, and God’s blessings are very clear to us. At other times, like when the top of the mountain is covered in clouds, it’s a bit more difficult to see or feel His presence; and in the dense fog of uncertainty, one can question if He’s there at all. But He is like the mountain; nothing has changed on His side. He is there, solid, immovable, ever loving, ever caring, never failing.

Looking at this mountain—this gigantic rock rising above the lake—brought to mind the stability of God, the sureness of His presence and help, regardless of the circumstances. We may worry or fear; we may doubt or be unsure. The storms that seem to engulf our lives at times can make it seem like He’s not there, not listening, or not concerned. But the simple fact is that the storms, the fog, and the winds in life don’t affect the presence of God any more than these elements in nature affect that mountain.

God is there, always. He will never leave or forsake us.[See Hebrews 13:5.] Our faith may fail, but He isn’t dependent on our faith, for He is the Rock, the mountain, the faithful one upon whom we can depend. Always.

Peter Amsterdam

Peter Amsterdam has been active in Christian service since 1971. In 1995 he became co-director (together with his wife, Maria Fontaine) of the Christian community of faith known as the Family International. He has authored a variety of articles on Christian faith and theology. (Articles by Peter Amsterdam used in Activated are adapted.)