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Faith Comment published in the Petersfield Post

26 September 2012: Jon Piper, Hope Church

Mountain Tops

I am currently in North Wales for a weekend with friends. We've spent a long time up mountains, fighting against strong winds, on difficult terrain, relying on sore feet. Our intention is to stand in some of the most beautiful places in the country.

During my walks, I have reflected on the fact that these short, mountainous journeys mirror a story that is regularly sold to us: the struggle of an individual, battling against adversity, followed by emphatic victory. This story is told in numerous forms: TV talent competitions, Olympic achievement, super heroes.

The truth is that this analogy rarely reflects the reality of life. Many people contend daily with problems for which they can envisage no end or glorious victory. Hope can seem very evasive.

In a sense, this is what led me to faith in God in the first place. As a child, experiencing real adversity, I came across a God who did not patronise me by telling me that, if I believed enough, all my troubles would melt away. Instead, he promised to walk through it with me.

The Bible is full of characters who experience nightmarish situations, knowing God's presence throughout. Jonah is one man who prays in the pits of despair:

'To the roots of the mountains I sank down.'

But he ends with this:

'Salvation comes from the Lord'

Like Jonah, you might have no mountain top in sight. But there is a hope. There is a future. And there is a God who journeys there with you.

This article was submitted for publication in the Petersfield Post on 26 September; it is possible that it was published earlier or may be published later.

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