“Some things never change” I thought to myself. This old saying came to mind as I gazed across the valley below our cabin, and pondered the mountain on the other side. It’s a large, long mountain, maybe 2500 ft. elevation at the highest peak, with steep sides and multiple peaks along the top ridge, definitely above average in size for this part of the Appalachians. Many times I have hiked the stream below that mountain, and have come to appreciate this formidable structure.
Mountains by definition can be huge obstacles to overcome. I have tried to carry firewood for the cabin up the mountain on my side of the valley, with a similar steep slope, only to stop totally fatigued and out of breath. I have tried to carry landscape rocks up the mountain to adorn the driveway to the cabin, only to abandon the effort due to exhaustion. Because of the mountain I was facing, I would have to have help to tackle those projects.
Sharp turns, steep road inclines, water, ice, snow, fog and darkness make mountains all the more imposing, and difficult to travel around or over. The mountain is immovable, unyielding, and often treacherous. The mountain is beautiful to look at, but hard and solid as a rock a thousand times over.
Some quick research on the Appalachian Mountains yielded two very interesting points. First, geologists believe the Appalachians are some of the oldest mountains on the planet. Second, geologists believe the mountains were once as tall as the current day Rocky Mountains, and would have been 10,000 to 14,000 feet in elevation at some point in the past. The effects of weather, over time, have worn them down to their current elevations (maximum 6684’ at Mt. Mitchell in North Carolina), and they sport a more rounded top due to wear as compared to the sharp peaks of the Rockies. This past winter, following a freezing rain and severe cold, the mountains shed many rocks, large and small, that could easily be seen along the sides of the road. The temperature ranges of extreme heat and cold cause the rocks in the mountain to crack. When moisture in the cracks freezes and expands, the rocks break and fall off the mountain. As the rocks give way and fall, the surrounding soil becomes subject to the erosive effects of rain. More rock is then exposed, and the cycle repeats.
Contrary to what the casual observer might think, and certainly contrary to what I was thinking as I looked at that mountain across the valley, that puts mountains in the category of things that change. Perhaps the rate at which they change is slower, but that groups mountains with those who change their mind and change their attitude. Laws change, fashions change, and mountains change. The morals of a society change, its customs and even religious practices change, just like mountains. Friendships and relationships change. Nations and leaders of nations change. The weather-the wind, the seasons and temperatures change. Our human bodies and our personal appearance change. Interest rates and the stock market change. The facts of a trial change depending on who is testifying, the news changes depending on who is reporting it, and history changes depending on who is writing it. If all these things change, including mountains, is there anything that does not change? Is there anything that one can anchor to and depend upon? If a mountain is not rock-solid after all, then what is?
It comes down to one thing that does not change. God says in Malachi 3:6 “For I am the Lord, I do not change.” When He says “I am”, He is repeating the answer to the question in Exodus when Moses asked Him His name. In Ex. 3:14 God said to Moses “I AM who I AM.” God is I AM, not I WAS, or I WILL BE. Because He is eternal and therefore exists outside of time, when He says I AM, it means He is constantly the same. From the eternal past, through today, and into the eternal future, God is (who He is). He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
He is “the absolute being, independent of any cause, incapable of change, exceeding all duration, because He is infinite: Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, Who is, and Who was, and Who is to come, the Almighty.” (Rev. 1:8) [St. Thomas I, thesis XXIII, 1883]
He is the “first cause” of all creation. The theory of evolution is based on change; in theory species change or evolve into different species. It is a scientist’s attempt to explain creation without acknowledging a Creator. However, this is contrary to specific Scripture, such as Gen. 1:20-25, where seven times God says the birds, creatures of the sea, and various creatures of the land were each created “according to their kind”. Additionally, I Cor. 15:39 says “All flesh is not the same: Men have one kind of flesh, animals have another, birds another, and fish another.” Finally, those scientists who still ascribe to the theory of evolution have enormous difficulty pinpointing the “first cause” of life or creation.
I Sam. 2:2 says “there is no rock like our God.” Isaiah 40:12 says God “weighed the mountains on the scales, and the hills in a balance.” The good news is mountains may change, but He does not. He is the eternal, everlasting, almighty Creator of everything. According to Col. 1:17, “He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” Jeremiah 10:12 says “…God made the earth by His power, and v. 16 says “…He is the Maker of all things.”
The good news of His constant, dependable, eternal character does not stop there.
For over 15 years, my wife and I ministered to kids in the Juvenile Justice System. One night, as I was preparing to talk to the kids, I asked the Lord what He wanted me to say. He said talk to them about license plates. My first thought was that making license plates in prison was what a lot of them would be doing for the rest of their lives if they did not change their behaviors. “What do you want me to tell them about license plates?” I asked. “Tell them what my personalized license plate would say” said the Lord…”if I had a car.” Out of genuine curiosity I asked “What would that be?”
He said “tell them my personalized plate would read: IM4U”. I AM for you. The Great I AM, the eternal one, the Creator of everything, is for you, not against you. Tell them He made you and He knows you by name. He takes great interest in your life, and He knows the plans He has for you. He wants you to know Him in a personal way. Tell them His attitude toward you (love) has not changed, no matter what you may have done. He will forgive you, and set your feet on the right path. His power and resources are unlimited to work on behalf of those who believe in Him and are submitted to Him.
What a simple yet profound revelation. The Ancient One, the Creator of everything, the One who still holds everything together, knows me and is my greatest support. The first cause of all life and creation, the Creator of the mountains, is willing to move mountains on my behalf. (Mt. 17:20). The One who created each of us from a distinct and personal blueprint laid down in the eternal past is with us today to guide us through every obstacle. The mighty mountains may change, but God does not change. Jesus promised in John 14 and 16 that when He left the earth He would send His Holy Spirit to comfort and guide us. For help in navigating that mountain, cry out to Him today. The great I AM is for you. That will never change.