This Advent season the words of this Christmas Carol are going through my mind:
“Go, tell it on the mountain, over the hills and everywhere;
go, tell it on the mountain, that Jesus Christ is born.”
Having lived in Nepal and seen the land of mountains and river valleys, I easily understand the reality of the challenge of the words of this song: the remoteness of villages, the difficulty in travel around the country, and the limitations of food and supplies getting to those remote areas.
Nepal: the land of the Himalayan mountain range, the snow-capped highest mountains in the world that peak out from behind the clouds some days more clearly than others.
From our first arrival in Nepal in 1979, when my eyes were drawn up for the first time to the breathtaking Kathmandu Valley mountains, until this past October, 2019, the giant Himalayan mountains to the north were a constant reminder to me then, and are now, of the truth of the words of Psalm 121:1-2:
“I lift up my eyes to the hills – from where does my help come?
My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.”
The highest mountains in the world reminded me that God, the Creator of heaven and earth, is my helper, day by day, whether life was easy or a challenge: my helper when I was raising a young family and working as a nurse.
The words of the Psalmist, “he will watch over your life,” continued to become more meaningful to me in our returning to Nepal in 2004 and developing new meaningful relationships with IM’s Nepali partners.
I was surprised when Bucky and I were asked to live in Besishahar at the Lamjung District Community Hospital, the “home” of the Lamjung Himalayan mountain (which we saw from our apartment everyday!)
“What is God doing????” I wondered. I was a bit panicky about all the challenges of living outside Kathmandu Valley.
But, trusting in God’s promise – “He is watching over our lives” – we moved to Besishahar. It is only about 110 miles from Kathmandu but nearly a 6 – hour drive along 1 or 2 lane roads that ribboned along the sides of mountains and river valley edges. I get carsick and so that trip was always a challenge for me – and yet, God was my helper during those hours of riding on winding roads going higher and higher up the mountain to Besishahar.
At that time, not only did the first verses have meaning for me, but more of the words of Psalm 121, “ the Lord will watch over your coming and going..” had become a reality in my life while we lived in Nepal, the land of the mountains. God was watching over our coming and going so many times as we traveled back and forth to Kathmandu by day or having left Besishahar early in the morning darkness.
God was faithful to continue to watch over my coming and going. Since 2013, I traveled from the US to Nepal 2-3 times a year, and then from 2015 with my overseeing the OGHS Nepal Earthquake relief.
Presently, I have a new meaning to “the Lord will watch over your coming and going, both now and forevermore.” Affective December 31, 2019, I will be retiring as an IM Global Servant to Nepal. I have made a 2-year commitment to be a volunteer Special Assistant to Nepal with an annual trip to Nepal.
“Both now and forevermore” is God’s promise for my retirement days, having moved from our home of 30 years in Royersford, PA to Fuquay-Varina, NC.
Wherever your life-path may be taking you, may you too, be strengthened by the Creator who made the heavens higher than the Himalayan Mountains, knowing that God will watch over your coming and going, now and forevermore.
This Advent season, may hearing the song “Go Tell It on the Mountain,” bring us memories of the words in Psalm 121 and these Himalayan mountains: that God is the Maker of these highest mountains in the world: and God is faithful to keep His promises to us.
May each of us claim the promises in this psalm for our lives – today, this Advent season and forevermore.