Hiking up the Salève

"For Christ's love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" (2 Corinthians 5:14-17 NIV)

A much anticipated annual event at the seminary I attended in France was a hike up the mountain just behind the seminary, the Salève. All of us looked forward to getting this little break from the everyday grind of school work, and everyone participated. Even the elderly staff would drive to the top with snacks and drinks for the tired climbers.

This is where I found myself on that fair mid-September day, surrounded by a crowd of fellow students and teachers. The first half-hour was fun. Everybody chatted cheerfully and new friendships were established. In fact, we were so focused on our friends that we barely even noticed our surroundings!

This changed, however, as soon as the climb became more strenuous. Some of the students slid over the rocks, scraping knees and elbows, and others stopped to empty stones out of their shoes. The happy chatter of our initial hike was replaced by grunts of exertion, and in general, our primary goal became to keep up with the fast-moving mob and to keep ourselves from falling!

The trek lasted about three hours, and in the end, the combination of exertion and the less dense oxygen at the top of the mountain caused our lungs to scream in pain. We all dropped down onto the grass to catch our breath, and it wasn't until later that any of us paid any attention to the view. But when we did, we realized that all of our effort had been well worth it! The beautiful city of Geneva, just over the Swiss border, spread out before us on one side; we could see the seminary tucked in at the foot of the mountain in another direction; and behind us, the view over the mountains was breathtaking. How different it looked from our usual seminary perspective! We gratefully accepted the food that was offered to us, and we were happy to spend the rest of the day basking in the beautiful surroundings.

During the remainder of the school year, we often yearned to climb the Salève again. Winters were usually often accompanied by days of endless fog, and those who took the time to make the climb always returned invigorated by the sunshine that they found at the top.

Sounds inviting, doesn't it? It's amazing what can happen when your valley perspective changes! When you have a glimpse at what it means to live at the top, it's life-changing!

I have good news for you, friend. No matter where you live, you can climb the mountain. No matter who you are or what your physical status is, you can catch that invigorating view from the top. And for those of you who live where there aren't even any mountains, the good news is that you don't need one!


The top I am referring to is the highest top possible. It is the top from God's perspective. Once you taste the view from God's perspective, your life changes. Problems no longer seem impossible. Worry no longer seems worthy of attention. Why? Because our human perspective (the valley perspective) is limited and out-of-focus, but the view from God's perspective changes us from the inside out. Every individual is seen to as someone loved by God, someone worthy to die for, someone who has potential. Our difficulties become opportunities to brighten others' lives and direct their glance to the view from the top.

Are you feeling sad or depressed? May I encourage you to come enjoy the view at the top of God's perspective? Come to Jesus in prayer and ask Him to reveal to you His perspective on your situation. Once you experience Him in your life, you won't be able to stop yourself from going back again and again to enjoy the view!

Rob Chaffart

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