Only a few brave souls have attempted this great feat. Some 800 people attempt the climb to the top of Mt. Everest each year. The life-long goal of many experienced climbers, and some non-experienced, is to make it to the summit of Everest. In the entire history of the world, only 8,306 people have made it to the top. Sadly, 288 deaths have transpired in the process.
Mt. Everest, as many know, is the tallest mountain in the world stretching up a staggering 29,029 ft. To put this colossal beast into perspective, a Boeing 747 will typically fly at an altitude of 33,000-41,000 ft–4,000 more feet above Everest and you could step onto an airplane.
But why is this such a challenging feat, what makes this great mountain so difficult to tame? The reason why, as if the brutal cold, avalanches, and rugged landscape aren’t enough, is because of the air. At around 26,000 ft. the air becomes too thin to breath without the use of supplemental oxygen, this area is known as The Death Zone. This fearful part of the journey has claimed the majority of the 288 people that have died on the mountain, because it is the most excruciating part of the journey and possess the greatest danger and risk of death.
As the air runs out of your gas tank, you may begin to experience the effects of high altitude related hypoxia, or altitude sickness. As it progresses, severe altitude sickness can cause your lungs to fill with fluid and blood (pulmonary edema), having the effect of drowning, and your brain to swell from excess fluid (cerebral edema). If you do not begin your decent down the mountain quickly, death is likely to occur. Unless you are trained to withstand the harsh environment and your mind is unbreakable… your chances of making it to the top are not likely.
The Death Zone is a tricky place. Its price is high, and the fee can cost you everything, including your life. 2 Timothy 4:2 tells us “Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction” (NIV). To not be prepared in and out of season can be the difference between life and death.
It is no surprise to hear that in this life we will have many trials. Many will begin the faith journey, but because of the rugged terrain, tribulations, and trials, they will not make it it to the summit. Our enemy, the devil, is out to destroy Christians in any way that he can. For many, as they pass through The Death Zone–the moments of great trial and tribulation–they succumb to the sufferings of the journey by resolving to quit and turn back.
But not those who are prepared, who have waged everything on getting to the top and finishing what they set out to accomplish. For those who are FIRM in Christ, the summit will be theirs, Romans 83:37-39 exclaims,
“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor demons, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (NIV)
NOR HEIGHT, NOR DEPTH. Those who are anchored in Christ, prepared in and out of season, and give everything they have to the fight will make it through The Death Zone, and all the way to the summit. This week, prepare yourself, don’t give up by turning back or succumbing to momentary pleasures. The pain is temporary and compares nothing to the reward of living a life for Christ, even in The Death Zone.
Arnette, A. (2018). Everest by The Numbers: 2018 Edition. Retrieved from http://www.alanarnette.com/blog/2017/12/17/everest-by-the-numbers-2018-edition/