Watching a TV special on North America, I heard something that seemed profound. And yes, I turn on most anything that promises me mountain scenery!
Set high in the Montana Rocky Mountains, beautiful photography followed a solitary nanny goat to dizzying heights. Surefooted, she climbed on the icy granite rock faces nearing 9,000 feet. Alone, but safe, she gave birth as a herald of spring. Just a few weeks later, mother and baby took off on the treacherous descent into the awakening valley below.
Mom took the lead, pausing to wait as new hooves found their footing behind her. Hopping in imitation of the one he followed. Slipping. Holding his own, baby emulated his mother’s every step as best he could.
Grassy meadows beckoning below, the two made their way toward the gathering herd. Food abounding. Playful young. Watchful adults.
All was well . . . until a raging river invaded their path. The lead nanny searched out the best place and bounded between rocks hovering above the rapids until she went airborne onto the opposite shore. Others followed, until most adults and adolescents were safely across.
This baby watched as one after the other crossed the churning waters. He paced. Got his feet wet. Backed out. Looked around and fear took over. To this little one unsure of his abilities, the unknown seemed daunting.
Mom bleated from the other side, having moved to a place directly across from her little one. He heard her call. And yet stepping into the unknown, the visibly raging waters, seemed an impossible crossing for the young one.
Time passed. The herd moved on. This mom though stayed at water’s edge on the opposite bank. Ever watching over. Ever calling . . .
Finally baby tried again. Missed his first target, got wet, retreated.
Mom bleated as if in concern, but stood her ground. And her call.
Baby hesitated again. Backed away. Looked for another way, an easier way.
Another straggler, an adolescent goat came up beside the smaller one. Stood with him. Then almost as if to show the way, soared from rock to rock into the swift current and swam safely to shore.
Still this baby stood alone at water’s edge, unmoving. Looking across at his mom. Until suddenly he found his courage, stepped to water’s edge and bravely jumped. Missed the first foothold . . . and turned back.
Mom stood firm. Faithful, waiting, not forcing, beckoning, believing . . .
Once more, baby moved to water’s edge, and plunged in. This time, all in. One jump – solid rock. A second jump – another rock. The third – his feet miss, and he is swept away by the strong current. Struggling for elusive footholds, hooves so nimble and sure at high altitudes are rendered useless in the water.
Mother moves along the bank as her baby is carried downstream. Keeping the goal ever visible to the small head bobbing in the waters. Determined little feet finally found a foothold and propelled him out of a certain death trap into the warm, strong presence of his parent.
O God, help me determine to follow your lead. Heed your call. Keep my focus on you, ever-present . . . faithful . . . beckoning . . .
Help me trust you, even when you don’t reach down to pull me out of life’s raging waters. Remind me to lean into you when I battle against the hard things in life, finding sustenance, strength and mercy.
O God, help me step with conviction into your lead, even into the daunting unknown. Help me jump without hesitation into places you call me to minister, flinging myself ever toward the goal set before me.
I will follow the steps of Jesus, . . . where’er they go . . . .
As the show’s segment about mountain goat segment came to a close, the commentator rather profoundly, even if perhaps using a bit of poetic license about the thoughts of a young mountain goat, stated . . . He faced his fears and found unexpected strength.