Picture yourself hiking for a good 3-4 hours up a mountain just because you wanted to be in a place where you could pray clearly? Praying with focus, perspective, a thankful heart, and a hearing ear. Believe it or not, this was one of Jesus’ favorite things to do. Several times in the Gospels the writer states that Jesus went up to the mountain to pray. Being from Galilee, which is right on a sizable body of water, there were only two mountains Jesus had to choose from in His home town. One mountain is known as the Mount of Beatitudes (let’s just say He taught a few AMAZING things there during His earthly ministry), the other mountain option is a place known as Mount Arbel, a deserted place that Jesus had to physically exert Himself to get to.
Picture it for a second, Jesus climbed actually climbed this kind of stuff! But this was the view that He got at the top….
Arbel means “ambushed”, and throughout ancient history people would climb this mountain to be ambushed by God…to meet with Him, hear Him, and encounter Him. Jesus made the physical effort to hike to the top as a reminder to Himself that this was AT LEAST how hard He needed to exert Himself in prayer, both hearing and obeying His Father’s voice.
As I was walking off of Mount Arbel today I was hit with this: when I make the effort to give myself to God in prayer, with delight in His heart He makes the effort to give Himself to me (that’s the ambush), and I walk away with the blessing of His perspective and a view from a higher place. The good news is that the invitation to ascend is still available to me whenever I want, walking out of what’s comfortable so I can see a more beautiful view and have the perspective that only comes from the place of prayer…where God is waiting to ambush me.