Day 17 – The Mountains Are Always Present – 2023

Day 17 – The Mountains Are Always Present – 2023

“As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the LORD surrounds his people, from this time on and for evermore.” 

Psalm 125:2 

Read Psalm 125 

One refreshing glimpse of goodness while living in California’s Central Valley during the pandemic was the daily view of the nearby Sierra Nevada. Majestic and serene they surround us, whether we are aware of them are not. During the pandemic it was impossible not to be aware of them—they were a daily blessing and beacon of hope, rising up through the refreshingly clear air because of the lack of smog due to a million absent vehicles. Their majesty constantly reminded us of their permanence and steadfastness. 

Like the psalmist proclaims about the mountains surrounding Jerusalem, the Sierras remind us of God’s constant presence among us. It was during the pandemic, a time of great fear and stress, that we were most aware of their company. They seemed to be reassuring us of God’s eternal presence. During less fearful times we can too easily forget God’s surrounding steadfastness and love. We are engulfed in the “dirty air” of our daily routines, easily forgetting God’s grand geography that so closely surrounds us. We are grateful for the rare breezy days that push back the haze and bring the snowy peaks into clear view again. We seem to feel God’s nearness more in difficult times, perhaps because the air is sharp and we see the hope of God through the eyes of a worried world. But God’s presence is always there, whether we are attuned to it or not. 

Lord, help us to be reminded of your eternal presence and steadfastness through the haze of our daily routines, no matter the circumstances. 

Advent Devotions
Ken Martens Friesen, Ph.D.

Ken Martens Friesen, Ph.D.

Professor of Political Science and International Studies Fresno Pacific University


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