On my walk this morning I looked up to get a glimpse of the mountains. When I’m struggling and discouraged and needing help and hope, I find it comforting to see their solid, majestic beauty, reminding me of God’s presence, power, and love. But this morning the mountains weren’t there. They were obscured by thick smoke from forest fires raging out of control hundreds of miles away.

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These past six months have sometimes felt like God wasn’t there. COVID-19 rages out of control and the effects of it touch every part of life. It’s like a thick haze blanketing everything, which makes it hard to see clearly. It’s hard to make good and wise decisions as everything is clouded and nothing is clear, and everyone interprets things differently. It’s hard to see the beauty of life that’s still there, just much harder to see. It’s hard to stay positive when chaos and uncertainty and fear threaten to overwhelm.

And I find it hard to see God at times. To really see Him in the midst of all of this chaos. To catch a glimpse of Him. Sometimes it feels like He’s not there.

Which brings me back to my walk this morning, looking for the mountains I could not see, hidden behind the thick blanket of smoke. The mountains are still there. They haven’t gone anywhere. They have not changed. It’s just that I couldn’t see them at the moment. My vision was obscured.

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And, just like the mountains, I need to remember that God IS still here. That He hasn’t gone anywhere. He hasn’t changed. He is the same yesterday and today and forever. I’ve just let my vision be obscured.

Instead of focusing on the chaos that swirls all around me–which is all too easy to do these days–I need to choose to shift my focus to God’s character and promises, to who He is and what He has said.

And He has said that He will never leave us nor forsake us.

He has given us Jesus–Immanuel, God with us. Jesus, who said to his disciples and says to us today, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

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And so I need to remember (as I forget all too often) to continue to lift my eyes up to the mountains, to the Maker of heaven and earth. And know that He is there even when life is chaotic and I can’t see clearly. I need to choose to fix my eyes upon Jesus, the author and perfecter of my faith, and receive the peace that only He can give.

“I lift up my eyes to the mountains–where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:1-2).

Shannon Leadbeater

Mom to two (one of whom has autism), Shannon has worked both in marketing and in ministry. Living in a suburb of beautiful Vancouver, BC, she loves going for walks, talking and praying with friends, playing games and doing puzzles with her children, watching football with her husband, kayaking at her family cabin, reading (preferably while sipping tea and eating chocolate!), and reflecting and writing about life in Christ.