Skip to Content

The Rough Side of the Mountain

Every Sunday when I was growing up, I would listen to gospel music on the radio with my Grandmom before we went to church. This was before the days of internet radio, and back when you could only hear gospel music on AM stations except for Sunday mornings. My favorite song was “Rough Side of the Mountain”. I loved to hear my grandmother sing it, and I would dig deep into my soul to my Southern roots and sing right along with her.

The lyrics, “I’m coming up on the rough side, of the mountain. I must hold to God. His powerful hands. I’m doing my best to make it in.” spoke to me even at a young age. It’s not that my childhood was terrible, but there were definitely some challenging parts. My parents were super young when they got married and had me, so in a lot of ways, we were growing up together. Fortunately, I was raised to know Christ at an early age, so even when the going got tough, I knew that I could “hold to God”. It wasn’t until I was older, though, that the song really resonated with me on a deeper level.

I was thinking about “the rough side of the mountain” earlier today, and about how, sometimes I climb up the part of the mountain that is more rocky and more dangerous than normal. It’s not because I have no choice, but it’s because I let pride or shame or fear stop me from taking God’s hand and letting Him guide me. Listen, I expect mountains. The Bible tells us in Genesis 3:16-19 that we will face difficult times, but even still God will  be here for us. The thing is, I often make things even more difficult than they even have to be. Trying to lean to my own understanding….honey! Let me just tell you, that is the fastest way to find yourself stuck on the side of a rough, rocky mountain with no safety harness.

I’m learning to let go and let God lead me. I’m trying to decrease myself and be patient and make moves when He tells me to move, as opposed to when I think it’s time. I’m trusting in Him, and I’m letting Him be my safety. We all know that mountains are dangerous, and I’m not trying to fall.

Do you allow God to guide you, or are you trying to climb the mountain alone? 

HG Martin

Saturday 7th of March 2020

My family and friends have oftentimes accused me of choosing ' the 'gravel roads' over the fine 'interstate highways ' of life. God's Word tells me that the path of least resistance may indeed be the easier way; but it is not The Bible Way. The greatest rewards for me have came in the way of hardships & travail.. After all what help can I be to weary & stranded fellow travelers lest I opted to to take the most treacherous routes along life's weary way. And I am happy to report that my God has guided me through every breakdown &hardship. And as a result I like to think of the old adage : The true sailor seeks the storm.


Thursday 6th of June 2013

I'm definitely guilty of trying to climb the mountain alone. While I've heard "Rough side of the mountain," it has never really resonated with me until now. Like you, I remember listening to this song as a young girl with my mom and grandmother. Ironically, I was thinking earlier that things are not working out the way I want them to right now because it's not how God wants them to work out. I'm fighting a losing battle...for no good reason. Thanks for this post, Brandi.


Saturday 8th of June 2013

Thank you for reading, Vaneese! Yes, we do that, don't we? We fight the good fight for something that isn't even for us. Meanwhile, God is waiting at the top to help us figure out why we climbed that mountain in the first place!


Tuesday 28th of May 2013

We attend church irregularly. Every time I go, the fellowship, the feelings, the message, all make me say it's not an option to not be regular attenders. And then the following Sunday rolls around and I roll over, look at the clock, and go back to sleep. Funny, though, my husband's grandmother turned 95 two weeks ago. She knows that we have a pretty large vinyl collection and she found this same album. It's remarkable to listen to.


Saturday 8th of June 2013

I totally understand, Arnebya. Until we moved here to California, I never had a church home where I felt...I don't know. I don't want to say "comfortable", but I just didn't fit in for whatever reason. Here, the focus is on the Bible. Period. There is no posturing, no crazy routines or rituals. It's a s safe place. Even without a church home, though, I did listen to gospel all of the time. Ironically, our church now doesn't play gospel. More like Christian Contemporary music. I'd LOVE to hear this record on vinyl.


Monday 27th of May 2013

I'll just say that we aren't a very religious family, BUT I am guilty of the exact same behavior. Making things more complicated than they have to be and choosing the path of most resistance. It's exhausting! But like you I am slowly learning to let go a bit and go with the flow. I really do think a part of it is East vs West mentality. People just don't seem to let things get to them as much here. Anyhow, long uphill, hopefully slightly less rocky battle to go for this girl


Saturday 8th of June 2013

Yes, Jillian! I have to agree that things are a lot more chill and relaxed on the West Coast. It's like people here are always going to find the easiest, most sensible way to do things. It's like a breath of fresh air!