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When We Fail to Achieve Our Dreams  

It is earth’s highest mountain above sea level. 

It is also the the most coveted prize in mountain climbing. 


At 29,029 feet, Mount Everest pierces high enough into the sky to be on a level with commercial jetliners. Since Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzig Norrgay made the first successful climb in 1953, nearly 4000 others have made the attempt and about 200 have died in the process. 

This season alone, after forking out $25,000 for a climbing permit, at least 11 climbers have died.  Among them is Christopher Kulish, a 62-year-old attorney from Boulder, Colorado. 

Ironically, Mr. Kulish did not die in his attempt to reach the iconic summit.  He successfully climbed to the top (nearly 5.5. Miles up), having finally achieved his dream of climbing the tallest mountains on all seven continents. According to early reports, he died at a camp somewhere below the summit—exact details unknown.

Without in any way wishing to trivialize the death of Attorney Kulish, I see in his tragedy a cautionary spiritual tale.  We followers of Christ often set high goals for ourselves, or envision ourselves ministering in grand ways in grand places and spaces.  Some of that bravado springs from good and noble motives.  Some of it is of the flesh.  

When we fail to achieve our dreams, we often ball ourselves up in a tangle of hurt and humiliation.  I'm reminded of a conversation God had in the Old Testament with a character named Baruch. Through the prophet, Jeremiah, God said:

But you, are you seeking great things for yourself? Do not seek them.

—Jeremiah 45:5


Some times we wonder why God hasn’t allowed this or that specific ministry dream to materialize.  Could it be that having achieved “the summit” God knows we would collapse on the way down?  After all, every mountain top experience has its downside.   Or maybe, having achieved the goal, we would somehow pronounce our work for God “finished”—and lose our spiritual fervor. 


I do not say we should not set goals or attempt great things for God.  I'm simply reminding myself (and perhaps you, as well) that my ultimate goal must be nothing less and nothing other than the glory of God alone. 



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Jon GaugerJon Gauger

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