Highlands (Song of Ascent)

— Midweek Meditations:
thoughts, inspiration and encouragement
from ACF community members —

Meditation on a song of Hillsong United

Highlands (Song of Ascent): Lyrics video here

This song has touched our hearts for a while – long before COVID19 broke into our lives.
It sings of the mountains and valleys of our lives, of the striving to experience the stunning sights of mountain peaks, but the promise that He is present in the valleys all the same. A song meant to be sung while ascending into His presence – just as in Old Testament times when the Jewish believers walked up to Jerusalem for days to worship HIM in the temple. No distance was too far, no steps too high, no weather too bad to take on the ascent because you knew that you were going to be in the presence of the Almighty, the Creator of Life, the Giver of Peace.

O how high would I climb mountains
If the mountains were where You hide
O how far I’d scale the valleys
If You graced the other side

How many mountain tours have I taken on in my life, getting up early in the morning to achieve my goals. How much time I am willing to spend to achieve high performance at my job, in sports, in my hobbies to receive praise (at least from myself). Am I willing to spend as much time to be in his presence?

O how long have I chased rivers
From lowly seas to where they rise
Against the rush of grace descending
From the source of its supply

Have I ever walked up rivers for days to discover Him? Climbed across rocks in order to chase His presence? Struggled my path all the way just to find God? But God is not only at the mountain peaks but also in the valleys as He has promised. As Job, David, Paul, Steven and Jesus experienced, He is with us even in the deepest valley. Our lives truly comprise so many valleys filled with shadows of anxiety, fear, loneliness, age, unemployment, health threats, uncertainty of today, never mind tomorrow. Do I believe he is there? Can I trust Him when everything else fails? Are You, my God, really not that hard to find?

In the highlands and the heartache
You’re neither more or less inclined
I would search and stop at nothing
You’re just not that hard to find

Are we therefore ready to sing:

So I will praise You on the mountain
And I will praise You when the mountain’s in my way
You’re the summit where my feet are
So I will praise You in the valleys all the same
No less God within the shadows
No less faithful when the night leads me astray
You’re the heaven where my heart is
In the highlands and the heartache all the same

Am I praising you even when the mountain is in our way? Even when heartache fills us? Does your presence turn valleys into summits? Do I believe that even the darkest night is light in Your presence? Do I remember times when you been present in the valleys of my past? Lord let me remember, strengthen my walk.
How can this be?

O how far beneath Your glory
Does Your kindness extend the path
From where Your feet rest on the sunrise
To where You sweep the sinner’s past
O how fast would You come running
If just to shadow me through the night
Trace my steps through all my failure
And walk me out the other side

How can it be that an Almighty God did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death —
even death on a cross! (Philippians 26-8, NIV) on a hill called Calvary.
Amazing grace how can it be that you saved a wretch like me?

For who could dare ascend that mountain
That valleyed hill called Calvary
But for the One I call Good Shepherd
Who like a lamb was slain for me

My Father in heaven I thank you for who you are, let me be mindful of your mighty power and holiness and trusting in your loving nature which gives me strength and hope in my daily walk. Forgive my business and allow me to experience you again right here and now as I am sitting praying worshipping you. Holy Spirit come and fill my heart, so that I may sing your praise, let Your song be ever present in my mind and heart.

Amen

Whatever I walk through
Wherever I am
Your Name can move mountains
Wherever I stand
And if ever I walk through
The valley of death
I’ll sing through the shadows
My song of ascent
From the gravest of all valleys
Come the pastures we call grace
A mighty river flowing upwards
From a deep but empty grave

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