Chimamimani Mountain dividing Zimbabwe from Mozambique. Elevation 8,000 feet
CLIMB THAT MOUNTAIN!
The Eastern Highlands that separate Rhodesia, (Zimbabwe), from Mozambique are befittingly named. The two countries are separated by range after range of majestic mountains. The highest being the great Chimanimani Mountains soaring to the lofty height of 8000 feet above sea level. These “giants” of God’s carvings in the earth, afford the most spectacular views to those who choose to ascend their resplendent heights.
Nestled in one of the valleys of the Eastern Highlands is the border town of Umtali, (Mutare). Umtali was founded in 1897 as a fort, about 5 miles from the border with Mozambique, and is just 180 miles from the Mozambican port of Beira, earning Umtali the title of “Zimbabwe’s Gateway to the Sea”. It is sometimes also called “Gateway to the Eastern Highlands”. Many of the locals refer to it as ‘Kumakomoyo’ (place of many mountains). The town lies north of the Bvumba Mountains and south of the Imbeza Valley. “Christmas Pass” is a mountain pass that leads into the city from the west. The pass was named by some of the colonial pioneers who camped at the foot of the pass on Christmas Day 1890. Umtali is where my husband grew up.
I was familiar with this area but came to know its magical beauty more intimately once Glyn and I started courting.
We would travel the road from Salisbury to Umtali, to visit his family, always stopping to take in the breath taking view from Christmas Pass, which looked down on the town and surrounding foothills; before attempting the hair-raising steep descent which eventually led us to Glyn’s parent’s home.
There something about climbing a mountain that is soul stirring and totally invigorating. The higher you climb the harder the challenge becomes but the rewards of those higher altitudes far exceeds the physical pain the climber endures.
For the adventurous climber who endeavored to climb the Chimanimani Mountains, a variety of surreal landscapes a-waited them.
Imagine with me what you or I would experience if we were one of these climbers.
When we are at the base we see little except the immediate vegetation: the mountain itself appears to be but one-half as high as it really is. Our limited vision is unable to comprehend its soaring height.
Confined in the valley, we discover scarcely anything except perhaps the rippling brooks as they descend into the stream at the foot of the mountain.
Climb the first rising knoll, and the valley lengthens and widens beneath our feet. Go higher, and we see the country for four or five miles around, filling us with delight with the ever widening scene. As we keep climbing higher the landscape enlarges with such pristine beauty that we are tempted to stop. We must push on though until at last we reach the summit, where the ultimate visual reward awaits us.
From the summit we have a clear view of majestic beauty laying to the east, the west, the north, and the south, unfolding before us.
We can see the bush spreading its scrub thorn trees in Mozambique from one direction; a waterfall tumbling over craggy rocks into a valley filled with blooming Masasa trees in Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) from another direction and the smoke drifting on the wind from the village huts along the river’s edge from yet another direction. From the vantage point of the summit of the Chimanimani Mountains we can literally see two different countries – Mozambique and Zimbabwe! Added to that we are so high that we can reach out and touch the puffy clouds floating by!
YES! The scene from the summit is far greater than we could have ever imagined!
There are lessons from a mountain climber’s perspective that can be applied to our Christian walk.
We find mountains mentioned in many passages of scripture. An example is found in the words of Isaiah:
“Get thee up into the high mountain.” Isaiah 40:9
Our knowledge of Christ is somewhat like climbing the Chimanimani Mountains.
When we first believe in Christ we have a very little understanding of His nature. Then we climb higher through prayer and reading the Word and we discover more of His Divine nature and of His beauties which causes our love for Him to grow. But we must push on in our daily walk until we reach the summit.
Once we reach the summit high above the mists of the plains and the vapors drifting up from the valleys, we begin to see both earthly and heavenly things in truer light and our perspective is changed for eternity.
Here we discover the heights and depths of the love of Christ which passes all knowledge!
Yes, from the summit we can “touch the face of God”!
The Apostle Paul, grown old, sitting grey-haired, shivering in a Roman dungeon, could say with greater emphasis than he ever had; “I know whom I have believed……” (2 Timothy 1:12), for each experience had been like the climbing of a hill. Each trial had been like ascending another height on the mountain of his life. His impending death seemed like gaining the summit of the mountain, from which he could see the whole of the faithfulness and the love of Him to whom he had committed his soul.
Today my friends let us be like Isaiah and Paul……………….
Get up; let us go into the high mountain!