Finding God on Mount Wengen

By on June 1, 2014

By Heidi McLaughlin

“OK my darlings-what’s it going to be,” I challenged, “shall we take the cable car or lace up our hiking boots?” Eyebrows went up and down and lips were pursed with confusion as we stood in a circle staring at each other.  My husband Jack, my daughter Michelle, my son-in-law Tim, and my son Donovan were standing at the base of Mount Wengen-one of the most picturesque mountains in Switzerland. While this adventure had been researched and orchestrated for over a year, we didn’t expect this famous, commanding, green giant to be so intimidating. Finally Michelle broke the silence, “You know what, I don’t think I feel up to the hike. Tim and I will take the cable car and meet you at the top.”  A decision was made. Tim and Michelle off to the train station while Jack, Donovan and I (Heidi) bent down to lace up their hiking boots.

The first half hour of our excursion revealed a backdrop of lush alpine meadows awash with a carpet of flowers.  Then the footpaths turned into a trek which elbowed and commanded its destination through spruce forests against a beautiful panorama of rugged, majestic mountains.  Our conversation consisted of exclamations and superlatives trying to fathom and express the vastness and magnificence of God’s creation.  Every hundred feet or so, we stopped to wipe the sweat from our faces and share another rich discovery.

  • “Over there – see Staubach Falls cascading down the side of the mountain like a twirling corkscrew.”
  • “Does that look like a mini rhododendron?”  (In fact it was an Alpenrose Rhododendron ferrugineum).
  • “When was the last time we saw anyone piling hay with a pitchfork?”
  • “Doesn’t that house look exactly like the one we would envision in the story book of Heidi?”
  • “Is that a glacier?”
  • “Are these the same Buttercups and Lady Slippers as we have in Canada?”
  • “Have you ever seen such a brilliant, purple violet?”

It was magical-as though we had stepped into another world of sharpened images and fairy tale stories of beauty beyond comprehension. As we climbed higher and higher up the mountainside trail we saw the world from a different perspective. It all seemed clearer, slower, and calmer.  Worries, deadlines and expectations evaporated.

Later we saw a sign that said: WENGEN VILLAGE.  Our clothes were soaked with a salty, grimy perspiration but we were elated, and deliciously exhausted.  Trying to squeeze one last drop out of our water bottles, we high fived and headed into the village. Back to reality.

It wasn’t hard to find Tim and Michelle in the village. They were in a colourful friendly café leisurely sipping away on a rich, Swiss coffee.  We couldn’t wait to ask them: “Hey, how was your cogwheel railway climb?” “Fine”, they both echoed.”  Now they wanted to know, “How was your trek up the mountain?” “It was very good,” was all I could muster up, “I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.”

How do you explain a glimpse of heaven – a visit into an idyllic time warp that would lose its magic if we tried to put it into human words?

I remembered there was a place in the Bible where God tried to explain that He had created a gorgeous world for us to explore and live in. In the book of Genesis when God finished creating our magnificent world, this is what He said. “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good” (Genesis 1:31 NIV).

My hike up Mount Wengen allowed me to capture a tiny, fleeting glimpse behind God’s words of “very good.” I experienced that it is hard to explain, in human terms, a stunning beauty that is beyond our comprehension. If God says that our creation is only very good, I can’t begin to comprehend what heaven will be like.

I’m glad I chose the long, hard hiking trail and not the easy route by cogwheel train. How many times have I missed God’s best for my life simply because I was not willing to bend over and lace up my hiking boots?  God’s wants us to experience all of His “very good” in our lives.

God’s beauty is unleashed in the most magnificent backdrop of the summer season.  Why not STOP today and take a moment to thank Him for creating something that is so very good.

Heidi McLaughlin lives in the beautiful vineyards of the Okanagan Valley in Kelowna, British Columbia. She is married to Pastor Jack and they have a wonderful, eclectic blended family of 5 children and 9 grandchildren. When she is not working, she loves to curl up with a great book; or golf and laugh with her husband, family and special friends.  You can reach her at: www.heartconnection.ca.

About Heidi McLaughlin

Heidi McLaughlin lives in the beautiful vineyards of the Okanagan Valley in Kelowna, British Columbia. She is married to Pastor Jack and they have a wonderful, eclectic blended family of 5 children and 9 grandchildren. When she is not working, she loves to curl up with a great book; or golf and laugh with her husband, family and special friends. You can reach her at: www.heartconnection.ca

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Finding God on Mount Wengen