I’m talking a literal mountaintop here. Our family decided to visit beautiful Gatlinburg, Tennessee one fall weekend. We liked to go there occasionally for the shopping and food and, of course, the beautiful mountain scenery. It was always relaxing to get away from the hustle and bustle of Atlanta and enjoy everything that Gatlinburg and, its sister city, Pigeon Forge had to offer.
One of the popular attractions in Gatlinburg is what is called Ober Gatlinburg. Basically, it is an amusement area at the top of a particular mountain which offers snow skiing; ice skating; etc. It sounded like a fun place to visit especially for our children who were not nearly as excited at looking at mountains and the changing leaf colors as my wife and I were.
There were two ways to reach the top of the mountain. You could drive your car to the top, or you could ride a cable car from the City of Gatlinburg at the bottom of the mountain to the top of the mountain. Riding Cable Cars is not something that is on my “to-do” list so I voted for the first option. We climbed into the family car and drove the winding mountain roads to the top of the mountain. It seemed like forever, but in reality it wasn’t really that far. By then, the kids were excited and wanting to climb out the car windows. They couldn’t wait to lace on a pair of skates or skis. Unfortunately, when we arrived to the top of the mountain, there was no place to park our car. The lots were full. So, I had a brilliant idea. I asked my wife to drop me and the kids off at the entrance to Ober Gatlinburg. I would go ahead and be paying for what we were going to do, get the kids all ready, and in the meantime she could drive back down the mountain; park in town; and catch the cable car back to the top of the mountain. She wasn’t scared of heights so I knew that wasn’t an issue with her. Everyone agreed, so off I went with the kids and off my wife went down the mountain. After 30 minutes or so, she arrived back to the top of the mountain and found us at the ice skating rink and all was good.
Then it hit me.
How was I going to get back down the mountain without riding the cable car? All of a sudden, ice skating didn’t seem fun anymore.
We did have a good time at the top of the mountain and I was sad to see the time end. Not because I was having that much fun, but because I knew I had to ride the cable car down the mountain. Finally, the moment of truth came and it was time to leave. We bought our cable car tickets and climbed on board. I immediately went to the center of the cable car and held on to the large pole in the center of the car as if that was going to make me feel safer. The ride to the bottom seemed like an eternity. I think I aged 10 years on that ride, but we finally made it and it couldn’t have been quick enough.
I can remember literally praying all the way down the mountain. Praying to the Lord that the cable wouldn’t snap and that we wouldn’t fall. Trying to convince God that I was too young to die and I had a wife and two young children and that it wouldn’t be fair for me to have it all end this way, by crashing into a mountainside. Don’t laugh, you’ve been there too.
As I think back on that incident, I realized a simple lesson that I still struggle with today. I realized that I don’t usually have an issue praying to God during an emergency or crisis. I think most of us are probably like that. We like to think we’re in control of everything in our lives and only when we can’t fix things any better do we turn to God. I am constantly reminding myself to do as the Bible says and pray without ceasing, not just in the bad times, but in the good times as well.