October 10, 2013

“For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”  Matthew 7:14

Payette-20131008-00168 (3)My eyes have been squinting in study of the progression of the lines on this topographic map.  The serpentine lines represent the topography of various trails on the south side of Mount Rainer National Park.  The close proximity of these lines on paper explain why I felt my heart pound, my calves tighten, and my breathing hasten, as I hiked the various routes.  These trails are steep.  After all, they are on a volcano.

As you might suspect, no trail to the summit of Mount Rainer adheres to the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

The Americans with Disabilities Act legislated to every individual within the United States the entitlement of full and equal enjoyment of goods, services, facilities, or accommodations of any public place.  This act has been the governing legislation behind the appurtenances, accoutrements, and other eliminated impediments constructed to make the public square universally accessible over the last twenty-three years.

225I am evaluating one Mount Rainer trail to determine if grading improvements are feasible to make the route more accessible to those who are unable to hike the steeper trails of Mount Rainer.  However, this route will not lead to the summit of Mount Rainer.  This trail will skirt the base of the mountain, leading its travelers to a delightful waterfall but not the summit.

This destination will suffice for most hikers since few actually intend to summit Mount Rainer.  The vast majority of hikers are in search of a pleasant day hike.  There are some who desire the challenge of rising over ridges and recovering through valleys but they don’t intend to summit.  A goal of an invigorating day on the mountain suffices as sufficient inspiration.

Other hikers don’t want a challenge and will seek out the easiest trail available.  Often, they are physically incapable of defeating the escalating elevation of a real mountain.  Therefore, they are appeased by beholding waterfalls, towering snow caps and vast forests of the mountain landscape from a distance.

papalars / Foter / CC BY-ND

Every child of God entered the trail head of the eternal upon their salvation.  We are told that this spiritual path of faith is narrow and difficult.  I have always envisioned this path like a trail to the summit of the tallest peak.  The path to the Father has never been ADA compliant.  Sinful people have never been entitled to full and equal enjoyment of the blessings of God’s presence .  In fact, no man ever has been capable of climbing the narrow path of faith into the presence of God.

None is righteous, no, not one; no one seeks for God.  All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one. (Romans 3:10-12)

…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23)

God sent His own son into this world, in the likeness of sinful flesh to address this accessibility issue once and for all.  However, Jesus did not come into this world to make the path to the Father ADA compliant.

He did not come to remove the difficulty of the route.
He did not come to eliminate the hurdles.
He did not come to chisel an escalator into impenetrable holiness.
He did not come to lower the glory of God down to the realm of man.
He did not come to diminish the elevation of righteousness for the unrighteous.

Chad Podoski / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

Jesus came to create supernatural climbers.  We are new creatures in Christ.  IN Christ, we are supernatural climbing freaks.  Our sinful flesh is no longer a barrier to the escalating elevation of the Most High.

The narrow way that was unassailable in our flesh has been made accessible because we are changed.  The spiritual path of faith has remained unchanged; it is still narrow and hard.  We are the ones who have been granted a new characteristic.  We have been made righteous through the blood of Christ.  Only the righteous can ascend through the narrow gate, on the hard way that leads to life.

We have been made to climb.
We have been acclimatized for the ascent. 

Many approach their faith as if they are in search of a pleasant day of hiking.  They may desire some spiritual challenges to round out their life but they are not really interested in the radical dedication of summiting.

The children of God were not created for pleasant day hiking.
We were made to climb. 

There are those who poke around with religion in search of the most comfortable version available.  Often, their desire for the spiritual is appeased by beholding a glimpse of the divine from a distance.

The children of God were not created to behold their Father from afar.
We were made to climb.

We are prepared by the blood of Christ and empowered by the Spirit to overcome all hardships, difficulties, and suffering.  There is nothing too difficult for our Lord.  Therefore, there is nothing too difficult for His children.  There is no trail too steep.  There is no impediment that cannot be surmounted.  There are no barriers that cannot be tossed aside.

We were made to climb!

Let’s gear-up and ascend in earnest.
Let’s breathe the rarefied air of the Almighty.
Let’s climb for the glory of our God.

See you at the top!

PRAYER: Lord, you know that I have often been content with a pleasant day hike.  Father, I want to climb.  I want to draw close to You.  I want to breathe in your presence and all of you blessings.  Thank you for giving me all that I need to travel this narrow and difficult path that You have laid before me.  Thank you for showing me the way.  Help me to continue to climb in earnest today and every day that you have me on this earth.  I pray this in the precious name of your Son,  Jesus Christ.   Amen.


  1. Wow! What a beautiful analogy. I so enjoyed reading your perspective on our walk with God!

  2. Great post! so relevant to our Christian walk–or shall I say Climb:) God Bless

  3. “The path to the Father has never been ADA compliant.” I like that analogy. As a person with dwarfism, and technically falling under the category of disability, I can identify with it somewhat. Also, I’ve been to Europe and many places there are not very accessible for individuals with disabilities – particularly for people confined to wheelchairs. I think that helps me identify with the post – realizing that there were some tourist attractions in Europe that some could not reach is another way of realizing that we cannot acquire salvation in the presence of God on our own merits.

  4. JD this is such an inspiring piece! Thank you! having been to Mt Ranier I could relate to your using it to make your point. i thought the comparison was wonderful.

  5. Great post! God Bless!

  6. Reblogged this on meanlittleboy2.

  7. What a great visual for the Christian life — mountain climbing! And I love your affirmation: We were made to climb — for the glory of our God. I, too, want to be an earnest climber. Thank you, JD, for the inspiration!

  8. What a scary picture

  9. Recently been through some “climbing lessons” and now have started the climb with the Lord … Never thought I’d use all that gear I first was issued when I signed up and became a Christian … but it is coming in handy … faith, hope, love, grace and so much more … and … Yes, see you at the top 🙂

  10. Love it, JD. My utmost for His highest.

  11. […] “CREATED TO CLIMB” – Oct 9. […]

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