I know I have already written several times about my recent trip to Africa. However, The Lord taught me so much on that journey. It only seems right to share these lessons with others, so that they might benefit from them as well. For the next few Tuesdays I am going to follow a theme that I truly believe God placed on my heart. The thing that I learned the most from while climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro was observing the amazing people that I shared the journey with. Each week for the next month or so, I would like to write about these individuals who helped bring about paradigm shifts in my life, and who truly challenged me to lean into God and ask Him to change me.
I will never forget the look on my wife’s face on the final summit day of Kilimanjaro. It was so cold that our hands would go numb within 30 seconds of removing them from our gloves. We hardly had any water to drink, because our camel backs froze within an hour of beginning the climb. While most people do not like the cold, my wife despises it. She did not really grow up in cold weather. She is a small girl, so she gets cold very easily. Just to give you some context, we keep our condo at 79 degrees in the summertime.
About 45 minutes before we reached the final peak of Kilimanjaro (the highest point in Africa), we came to a place called Stella Point. As soon as we reached Stella Point, the wind immediately kicked up. While it was already cold, that wind made it feel like it had dropped 15-20 degrees instantly. We were taking a brief rest at Stella Point before carrying on to the summit, and for the first time in the 5 days we had been hiking, my wife had a look of fear on her face. She probably wouldn’t admit this, but I could tell that she wanted to give up and just get somewhere warm. She looked miserable.
Whether or not she actually thought about quitting is irrelevant, because she didn’t! My wife kept marching on towards that summit. Not only that, but she didn’t even take a second to complain about how cold she was. She knew that the path God had in front her contained an abundance of life giving fruit that would not be found in the path behind her that led back to her warm tent. The enemy tried to paint pictures of things like hypothermia and exhaustion, but The Lord kept reminding her of all the things that the summit represented. With one step, my wife saw an image of Koseina, the little girl in Africa that was fully sponsored as a result of her climbing that mountain. With the next step she saw herself overcoming the strongholds and fears in her own life. Instead of letting the fear win, my wife walked to the top of that mountain and ran boldly into the arms of Christ.
My wife spent 7 days completely out of her element. She was cold. She couldn’t shower. She had trouble sleeping. Yet, she did not complain. In fact, she spent the majority of her time listening for God’s voice and seeking out opportunities to be a blessing to the people around her.
I am so proud of her, and the verse that comes to mind when I think about what I observed in her that week is 1 John 4: 18. It reads, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” Did my wife have fears? Sure she did, but they were completely overshadowed by love. The love of God covered her, while at the same time it operated through her and onto others. That love for God and others is ultimately what carried her all the way to the summit of Kilimanjaro.
It was so powerful to watch her, and it was very convicting to me. I hope it will be for you as well. I don’t know what fear you are fighting through right now, but I know we are all fighting something. What I do know is that you can take away the power that fear has over your life by focusing on the overwhelming love of God. Instead of focusing on your fear, try focusing on your salvation. The love of God shown to us through Jesus Christ is your salvation, and God’s love is so much more powerful that any fear. It will carry you to the top of whatever mountain you are currently climbing in your life.