PRESPECTIVE: The Mountaintop
Have you ever had a mountaintop experience? These exhilarating emotional highs are usually fueled by good news and positive, encouraging experiences. Most of us can recall times in our own lives when we felt we were on top of the world. Nearly all of my mountaintop experiences have been related to spiritually exhilarating moments when God revealed Himself to me in powerful and undeniable ways.
I want to share with you a different kind of mountaintop experience I have encountered, which took place literally on the tops of mountains. In these instances I was left brokenhearted over the vast lostness that lay before me.
Several years ago, I traveled with one of our missionaries in Malawi to the top of a mountain outside Lilongwe, the capital city. There were children everywhere on that bald, rock-covered hill. We were surrounded by beautiful dark faces whose eyes sparkled with hope in the midst of hopelessness. We gazed over the city and the country beyond to the darkness engulfing the nation. We prayed and asked God to light candles of the Gospel so these wonderful children would find eternal hope.
Recently I stood on a mountaintop overlooking Yerevan, Armenia, a city of more than 1 million people. Beyond, in the background, another mountain was visible-Mount Ararat, where Noah’s ark is believed to have come to rest. That day, Sam Porter and I, with our only missionary couple in Armenia and a local pastor, prayed together over the city. We were struck by the overwhelming task of lighting Gospel candles in the darkness. What could so few accomplish in this sea of lostness? We cried out to God for more laborers to join the harvest.
On another occasion we were at the end of a street in a mountainside village. We climbed to the top of the hillside and prayed over the village. The seed of the Gospel had been planted by our missionaries. One family had received Christ and hosted a Bible study. But there were hundreds who needed Jesus. We asked God to touch the hearts of volunteers to come and help. We prayed the Gospel seed would take root in the village. A few months ago, one of our Oklahoma churches sent a team to this Armenian village and more than 40 people responded to the invitation to follow Jesus.
Jesus often went away to the mountain to pray. He calls us to come away with Him today. During this season of missions emphasis, we and thousands of others can initiate our own mountaintop experience. We can steal away from life’s swirl and hubbub to find a place to be alone with God. On our mountaintop of prayer we can lift our voices in behalf of missionaries who are lighting Gospel candles all over this world. We can fervently pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out more laborers.
I suggest one other prayer while on the mountaintop. Ask God what He would have you give to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions. The missionaries with whom I prayed are there because you and I give. They focus all their time and energy on the Gospel because we hold the rope for them. Because you give, there are 5,200 missionaries who will “Go tell it on the mountain, that Jesus Christ is born.”