If you know me, it’s no secret that I love mountains. In fact, 46 of my friends are mountains. Each one having a unique personality and perspective. From any summit or approach in the high peaks region of New York State, I can look out and call by name those mountains looking back at me.
There was a minor earthquake in the Adirondacks earlier this week, very small 2.5, that caused me to meditate on the permanent, impermanence of mountains. I wondered about Mt. Marcy, our tallest mountain, shaking. It didn’t in this recent quake, but what would it take to move Mt. Marcy? Simply: an act of God.
My mind traveled back in time to the eruption of Mt. St. Helens on the Cascade Range in Washington State in 1980, I was 6. The eruption of this beautiful 9,677ft mountain reduced it to 8,363ft. Think about that! The mountain was moved, but tragically many people died, lives were changed, and property was destroyed.
I’m sure for someone Mt. St. Helens represented some personal mountain, something they hoped they could overcome, but didn’t believe was possible. But then, the mountain was moved, it was knocked down, it prominence and majesty irrevocably changed.
I love mountains, in nature. Personal, metaphorical mountains in life, honestly, I’ve climbed them, and I can do without them. Yes, I know there are more to come. Hey, at least I’m honest.
Joseph, the beloved son of Jacob, was given a vision. It was ridiculous from a human perspective; and he arrogantly shared it with his family. At his young age, he had no idea the mountains and valleys that were to come before the purpose of that vision came to be: not for his glory, but Gods, and ultimately, salvation for others.
There is a period as the Lord begins to move Jospeh from his fathers house, to the hands of his brothers, and ultimately to the seat of power in Egypt, when it seems that God was quiet, not involved, not speaking, when happenstance seems to be in control. But God.
Only with years of anguish and sorrow, in triumph and tragedy, could Joseph see the hand of God orchestrating his life. Joseph remained faithful, even while the Father was quietly maneuvering him to be a rescuer of his family: even his brother who had wronged him. As Joseph tells his brothers, “But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive” (Gen. 50:20; cf. Ro. 8:28-29).
Like Joseph, many of us seem to be on our way to Dothan. We are sent out, and at times it seems that we are unable to hear the whispering of heaven to assure us that we are heading in the right direction. Except for “the man” along the way telling us the way there.
Dothan, דֹּתָן, is an interesting word, as it seems to mean two wells, or a place of waters. Water often signifies life and refreshing in Scripture. And in Joseph’s case, it did mean life, just not the life he was expecting.
For the first time in many, many years, I find myself on that journey to Dothan. Not exactly sure as to why, and unable to discern the “why,” yet finding comfort that His will is ordering the way. For me, that is my Mt. St. Helens eruption, and the fracturing of the mountain of abandonment that I’ve attempted to cross for as long as my memory has been. While some pray for healing, I often pray: “I will never leave you … I am with you always … “ that’s my security, the presence of Christ.
It’s the paradox of go, and wait: hurry up, but be still!
Dothan is not the destination, it is a place of life and refreshing, for the next leg of the journey. Dothan is a place of life, but also a place of miraculous victory! It is a junction point that we look back to and say, “I needed to go there, in order to get here.” Where we go may not be what we are expecting, but it is what He is ordering. The purpose will only be clear after the rescue.
The mountains we pray to be moved in faith are moved by an act of God alone. We can hardly move ourselves, so let Him do the fracturing, the shaking, and ultimately the healing.
Just as Jacob did with Joseph, our Father in heaven has showered gifts upon us and wealth for the work along the way (I Cor. 12-14). We are adorned, even in our servants attire, in robes of His Sons glorious righteousness, and we will settle, after all the Dothans of this life, in a place prepared especially for you and me, by the hand of Messiah Himself (Jn. 14:3).
That mountain before you, as you stress to climb it, will crumble with one word from the One who set it there. Glory to His name. Trust Him.
Pictured: Mt. Marcy from Lower Wolf Jaw Mountain.