Thursday, 25 April 2013

The Beauty Of God

There were a number of good things that happened to me in March. One of my favorites was climbing the highest mountain in Ghana! :D If you know me well, you’ll know I love the beauty of nature and the outdoors. (I’m no Barbie doll but well, I don’t mind being one sometimes. ;) )

On the Bridge

After a good four hours drive from the city and enjoying beautiful scenery along the way, Mount Afadjato was finally in view and boy, could I wait to get my hike on! 

At the beginning of the hike I was all pumped like ‘yeah, let’s do this!’ But barely ten minutes after, I was panting for breath. LOL I can laugh about it now but I tell you at that moment it was no joke. I was tired already. We (my friends and I) were informed by our tour guide that it took about 45 minutes to climb and another 45 minutes to descend for an average person. So I was thinking ‘OMG with my slowing pace when will I ever get to the top of this mountain?’

The climb became more and more steep such that I had to crawl on all fours. Yessss. And I had to constantly cling on to jutting twigs and rocks on the mountain. We all had to, or else you were assured of an unfortunate free fall. And sometimes I stopped to sit on steep rocks along the way, and the view from those rocks frightened me because the ground looked so far away and my balance wasn’t that firm too.

With laboured steps and lots of water to gulp down, I climbed on. I felt so drained and had thoughts of just giving up. I was sweaty, extremely tired and my heart was racing a thousand miles a minute, I was was so crazy. I thought my chest was going to explode if I dared to continue. But of course, I dared to. I asked God to give me the strength to continue cause I’m no quitter and truly, He did. Each step I took gradually led me nearer and nearer to the peak and all along the words of Donald Miller from his book, which I blogged about here kept flashing across my mind. He said “Don’t kick yourself around if you can’t climb up out of a canyon real quick, just do it slow.” (Which in my case was climb up a mountain.) This helped me take it easy and move at my own pace. Thanks Don!

Somewhere along the steep climb, one guy voiced out what was running through my mind. I was thinking about how the whole climb and its toughness was like the Christian we Christians feel like giving up walking down the narrow road, how I was tempted sometimes to change my path and go walk down the broad but dangerous road, how some problems are like giant mountains in my life and how painful it is to try and fight those mountains.

 Following Jesus’ footsteps sure gets pretty tough. But just like the joy awaiting me when I climbed to the peak, what urges me on to keep following Jesus and obeying the commandments of God is the assurance of my spot in Heaven. That’s what keeps me going in the toughest times, you know. 

As I neared the top of the mountain, I could hear the happiness in the voices of those who had already gotten there and I was like ‘oh yes! I’m almost there.’ I took all the rests I had to take until I took those final steps which landed me on Mt. Afadjato. I was so happy I had made it somehow...and I ended up being the second female among close to ten ladies. Hehehe. It felt amazing to stand there and look at the beautiful view and just enjoy the sweet breezes. 

Finally at the top
“For lo, He who forms the mountains, and creates the wind, and declares to man what is his thought; who makes the morning darkness, and treads on the heights of the earth- the Lord, the God of hosts, is His name!” Amos 4:13 

I'm thankful I didn’t even get a bruise and that nothing fatal occurred to anyone. I was just grinning and grinning and soaking in the awesomeness of the mighty works of God’s hands.

I'm thankful for my sweet friend here who carried my bag up and down the mountain :-*
After all the pictures and relaxation, it was time to descend. I must say this part was way easier and fun. It didn’t take so much effort and time, so we got to the base of the mountain in a relatively shorter time. 

Afterwards, we headed to Wli Falls (the highest in West Africa.) I was so drained and munched down my lunch on the bus in no time. It was like a ten minutes drive away so we got there pretty fast. 

 Made some shy lil friends before the hike to the Falls :) (Prayers and love to the girl in the background)

I couldn’t wait to see the falls but it took another hike (a much smoother one) and crossing of about nine bridges (I know, tough luck) to get to the Falls. But O, it was soo worth it. 

“The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the skies proclaim the work of His hands.” Psalm 19:1

The cascading water from such great heights was totally amazing (No, I’m not exaggerating.) I stood there just admiring the awesomeness of God and how great He really is for creating all of these things...the Falls, the beautiful mountains in the distance... and oh, the beautiful rainbow across the waterfall which brings to mind the covenant God has with us, never to destroy the earth with a flood. All these things dazzled me as I enjoyed God’s beauty in them. 

“And God said, “This is a sign of the covenant which I make between Me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: I set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth.”” Genesis 9:12,13

Spot the rainbow  

 No, I don't know why Tasha is holding a lappie here

On the drive back to the city, I reflected on how God is strengthening me to conquer all the mountains in this hard life, the frustrations, anger, raw pain, pride... When the pain is just too real, when the tears won’t stop flowing, when I feel numb inside and I have so many unanswered questions, I’ll always remember that no matter what, I shall overcome. I will conquer all these mountains in my path just like I did that day. And just like the peace and calm I found in gazing at the wonders of God which surrounded me, I’ll run to God and bask in His peace when peace is such a distant thought. I’ll continue to look for the good in the bad and beauty in the very ordinary.

I don’t want to forget this experience and how much it means to me. I don’t want to forget how all these great and small wonders God created can soothe my soul. I want to remember it all... 

“O Lord, how manifold are thy works! In wisdom hast thou made them all; the earth is full of thy creatures.” Psalm 104:24

 I’m looking forward to enjoying the many other wonderful things He made to make us realize His great power to remind us that if He did all these amazing things, then there’s absolutely nothing He can’t fix in our lives. The hurt, the brokenness, the grief, the sadness, the loneliness, the sickness, the confusion...He is more than capable to make all of it right.

Met Jaime and Stephanie at the Falls, and they were apparently in my hostel back on campus. Small world.
Are you having a hard time seeing the good in
 this messy world? Well, you’re not alone, I do too...But do take a look around you and find God’s beauty in all the mess... the beautiful flowers, the tall green-leaved trees, the cool breeze, birds flying across the blue sky, a serene beach, the streams and lakes, the ah-mazing sunrises and sunsets. Because I did, and I tell you, it was worth it. I’ve come to know that the peace I find in nature calms my troubled soul and draws me nearer to the awesome God I serve. 

Those mountains in your life are worth conquering dear. Be strong and fight on. xoxo 


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