There’s a Haitian proverb that says, Deye Mon Gen Mon, which means “Beyond the mountains, there are mountains.” For the longest time, I never really understood what it meant. I just assumed it meant there are a ton of mountains, and to me, that was a good thing. I live on the side of a mountain and still cannot get enough of mountains. I was actually on a hike to a school for work one day about a month ago, and I brought up this proverb to one of my Haitian coworkers I was hiking with. He explained to me that it’s not necessarily as optimistic of a proverb as I was imagining. “The mountains,” he said, “represent struggle..they represent difficulty.” I couldn’t seem to wrap my mind around it because I love mountains. I love hiking through them, I love looking at them, and I am always in awe of them. They’re beautiful and mysterious and they remind me of something far greater than myself.
Yesterday morning I was taking off from Haiti on my way to America, and from thousands of miles in the sky, I was able to spot the house in which I live in Titanyen, Haiti. From a bird’s eye view, I saw the endless stretch of mountains behind my living quarters, and in an instant, I thought of the Haitian proverb.
–I could physically see the mountains beyond mountains–
As I stopped my mind right there to sit on what the words of that proverb mean (and the view from being above all the mountains showed me) I realized something that would later that day become much more real..
In that moment, I grasped there really are mountains beyond mountains we are going to face. But I realized that, most times, we face mountains beyond mountains, not just mountains. God graciously allows us to approach one after another.
〈〈Graciously was a hard word for me to type there. When mountains beyond mountains approach me, I wonder as if I’ll ever catch a break. It’s a hard thing to face mountains beyond mountains BUT I use the word graciously because The Lord uses everything for the good of those who love Him. He graciously gives us mountains beyond mountains instead giving us barrier walls that cannot be passed. He is good and everything that we face, struggle with, and battle..are working together for our good〉〉
It’s by the grace of God that we do not live our lives foreknowing all of the mountains we are going to encounter. When I set my mind on hiking to a destination at the top of a mountain, I can look at the mountain I am facing and know that I have the ability to make it. If I was able to see that every peak leads to another valley that leads to another peak that leads to another valley that leads to another peak (you see my point?) I don’t know that I would ever feel confident in my ability to persevere and make it through all the obstacles of the hike. The task would seem too daunting to press forward. I would be thinking about the future obstacles the whole entire time. It would completely take the joy out of the moment I am in. If there was an endless mountain range in front of me and I was to tackle it altogether, I don’t think that I would even begin to believe I could conquer it all.
You see, I truly believe God gives us one mountain at a time and gives us what we need to conquer them, one by one. We’re not expected to face all of life’s battles at once, but rather throughout our life to refine us and grow us.
The reality of this idea and this Haitian proverb set in after hearing about the tragic death of one of my friends from back home. If I had seen this hard-to-climb-peak was on its way two weeks ago, along with other mountains I was facing at the time, I wouldn’t have believed I had the ability to make it out on the other side. I wouldn’t have been present where I was to be intentional in what I was doing. I trust that one day, I will look back and see that this mountain was passed and I came to know Jesus better through it, but for now I am thankful that Jesus meets me right where I am at. I am praying even more that the family and other friends of my sweet friend can find Jesus or more of Him in the midst of something so heartbreaking. Complete comfort is only found in Jesus, and my heart so longs for that to be found by those most affected. Even through the sheer heartbreak I am thankful that God doesn’t ask us to stare down our whole life ahead and prepare for all that’s to come. He tells us in His Word that He gives us what we need today to get through today. We are told to not worry about tomorrow, because today has enough to worry about itself.
Mountains are hard, but they are still beautiful. I pray that the difficulty of the “mountains” become equally as beautiful to my heart as their aesthetics are to my eyes. I pray that I continue to trust in The Lords provision—that everything, whether it be good or bad, is ultimately for good. I pray that they continue to remind me of something, Someone, far greater than myself or my wildest dream. I pray we believers and followers of Jesus would continue to stand strong in the faith and grow to love Jesus more and more.. to continue to appreciate each mountain he walks us over. And I pray for people who do not yet know Jesus, to come to know Him and love Him, for them to see that the same God who created the Earth loves them, died for them, and is the One to walk through these mountains with.
(View from the airplane above Titanyen Haiti, far bottom right, overlooking the mountains)
[God is our refuge and strength a very present help in trouble- Psalm 46:1]