Above the cloudline
Updated: Feb 26
Edelweiss is said to grow only above the cloudline in the Alps. There is a wealth of folklore and mythology surrounding this hardy, surprising little plant. The Edelweiss flower has been a source of inspiration and celebration for lovers, climbers, and warriors.
The flower itself, as well as the many emblems based on the flower, have adorned (and still do) the lapels of mountain men in Austria and Switzerland as well as the lapels of military uniforms for German, Romanian, Austrian, Hungarian, and even US soldiers.
The name is derived from the German word Edelweiß, a combination of 'Noble' and 'White'. In Romanian, the meaning is 'Cliffhanger's Flower'. The rarity of the flower, its inaccessibility, and all the surrounding mythology all point to the fact that it takes commitment, hardiness, and the ability to overcome difficulties in order to retrieve it and to hold it.
To lovers it is a statement of commitment and dedication, to a soldier, it speaks of steadfastness, courage, and perseverance. German troops would ascend alpine mountains in full gear to seek out the flower. If you saw someone who managed to bring one back down, you would know they had climbed mountains to find it. When the flower was worn on the uniform it spoke of that soldier's reliability under pressure and it symbolised to others, of that soldier's authority, the kind of authority only carried by one with character and who has had to endure.
Men can hide behind a mask of timidity or hide behind a mask of the over-achiever. Both kinds of men are desperate to be validated. Whether we have no deep roots and burn out, or we are slowly choked by life’s cares - How can we move from the needy man to the man of strength, the man who can be relied upon? Well we need to be deliberate and “go with the strength that we have” [Judges 6:14]. We need to turn our heads toward the summit and stop looking back.
There are men that radiate true authority, an authority that has come from surrendering to God in life's storms, an authority linked to suffering and overcoming adversity. It's a spiritual authority bestowed by God to a man who isn't perfect! It's bestowed to a man who wrestles with God and hangs on in because he knows and he has learned/learning that
there is no other name by which he may be saved.
It's difficult to put into words, but this kind of man wears 'edelweiss' on his breast. He emanates the strength and authority of God. He walks above the cloudline and when he speaks to you, you know he speaks from experience and sometimes even bitter experience. This man's heart is to show you the ancient path he has found and he would want you to know that you don't have to walk it alone. This man would have you avoid many of the pitfalls he has found and help you on your journey. This man testifies to the goodness of God even in the trials.
This man is honest about suffering and of the part it plays in our own sanctification. He would bid us stand and not to be dismayed when all kinds of trials beset us. We believe him because we see the authority in his countenance. This is what the disciples saw in Jesus. "He speaks as one who has authority," they said.
I want to be such a man. An effective King who has put away childish things and one who is known as a friend of Jesus, one who exudes the spirit of Jesus. Believing and knowing him is the quest. To go above the cloudline and set our hearts on things above. To believe and to stop striving or trying to earn His love when He already resides within us.
The success of this quest depends on us being disciplined and being deliberate, despite distraction. More bible study, more prayer time? Maybe, but with the heart of a treasure hunter. And yes troubles will come after you, the world will press in on you, and trials will come. These are not signs you have blown it. Instead, they are opportunities to hunker down, push on, adjust course if need be, or even to rest out in the storm. We have the map and his name is Jesus. We stay close and if we don't have them in our lives, we ask Father for the men who wear edelweiss.
Our meetings with them may only be sporadic, rare, and almost chance-like, but remember Father is not absent from the picture and he has promised to complete his work. Maybe their absence or scarceness in your own life is God's way of showing you His need of such men - The generations ahead of us will need such men, they will need us.