A Mountain, Now You See It, Now You Don’t

Mt. Hood, Oregon

Walking a block out to the end of 118th Street
from my son’s house,looking east on a clear day,
I see the mountain in all her majesty
rising high above the horizon.

“The mountain is out today,”
I happily report to the family as I return from my short walk.
What did I think she did – hide herself yesterday
when I couldn’t see her because of the clouds?

Yet I do it every time I am here at my son’s home.
And I smile and remind myself how little sense it makes.

Of course the mountain is always there.

On cloudy, rainy days which easily outnumber the clear days here  in Portland, the mountain remains, majestic on the horizon even though I can’t see her.

Mt. Hood

And every time I am reminded of the God who is present in all things, even when it doesn’t feel like it.


I remember sitting in my counselor’s office  a couple years ago, telling him God seemed so far away, even though I knew he had not gone anywhere. He listened and reassured me, “It’s the grief and the fear talking. It’s like when the clouds hide the stars night. They are still there even though you can’t see them.”

He didn’t give me scripture verses to memorize about God’s presence.
He knew I could probably quote them myself.
He didn’t tell me I  needed more faith.
It felt like he held it for me.

Over the weeks that followed, he walked with me through the fear and grief lurking beneath the surface since my little brother’s death so many years ago after the loss of my baby sister nine  months earlier. I cried tears I didn’t know I had, gave voice to the fears I had stored away. And the day came when I realized I had begun to “see” the God who had been there all along.

I learned:

  • God is present with me in the pain, even when circumstances seem to hide his face.
  • Sometimes God uses others to help me see him when I can’t see him myself.

How grateful I am God’s presence does not depend on seeing or feeling.


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