the Peaks for the Valleys
Has your week been one of peaks or valleys? I love going to the mountains and I find it exhilarating to hike to their peaks. Standing on top and gazing at the views below is both peaceful and fulfilling. Looking out at the vast space before me I can quickly leave my problems behind separating myself from them. But there comes a time that I must hike back down to where I started.
life is very much like that too, filled with peaks and valleys. There are days
that are full of the highs on the peaks and equally,
there are days filled with the shadows of the valleys. Since life is filled
with both peaks and valleys it is only through our faith in God that we come to
embrace both, knowing that Christ is with us through them all.
From the mountaintop peaks, we can stand and view the distance and as powerful and peaceful as it may seem, it is possible for there to be peace and power found in the valley too with Christ at our side. John Calvin said that “Faith is not a distant view but a warm embrace of Christ.” When we are on the mountain peak, we can feel both close to God and His majesty and yet separate from the world as we view it from the distant. But through the power of our faith, we know that God is with us whether on the peak or more importantly even in and when the valley gets dark. For no matter where we are in life at some point, we leave the peaks and come down from the mountain to experience real life in the real world because after Sunday comes Monday.
Enthusiasm on the Peaks
This week’s focus verse may seem an oddly picked verse, but it is this verse that shows us that life goes on. Life is not all experienced from the mountain peaks but no matter where we are Christ remains with us. And like the disciples, we too can use our mountaintop experiences to help us in our real and everyday life.
Our verse this week comes just after Peter, John, and James descend from the mountain after witnessing the transfiguration of Christ. On that mountaintop peak, they saw not only the glory of Christ but met Moses and Elijah. However, even greater is that God spoke to them acknowledging fully His Son. Mountaintop experiences on earth don’t get much greater than this and Peter in his enthusiasm didn’t want it to end either, but God had work for them to do.
The next day, after they had come down the mountain, a large crowd met Jesus. Luke 9:37 (NLT)
mountaintop peaks and the sometimes-surreal experiences from them often cause
us to forget our troubles and the reality of a problem-filled
world. Life in the valleys is often difficult
or hard and as much as we might like to remain on the peaks, it is through the
valleys that we can often find ourselves clinging closer to God. Our knowledge and
experiences from the peaks allow us to use them in our everyday life helping others as well as ourselves. For our faith
can remain strong in both places.
Taking it Back to the Valleys
we remained on the peaks all the time, then we would be unable to offer to
others our knowledge of Christ and the power of God to others. We would set ourselves
apart from the valleys instead of living
life in them. By taking our experiences from the peaks we not only can use it
to sustain ourselves but to demonstrate
it through our lives while in the valleys.
Mountaintop experiences on the peaks are important for it is often on the peaks that we can clearly see and recognize God for who He is. These times of rest and reflection are important and help us prepare to go back to the valley to do the work that God asks us to do through the faith and lessons learned while on the peaks. But we should remember, like the disciples, we don’t work in the valley alone because Christ is always with us.
We aren’t promised that life with Christ is easy, but we are promised that we are never alone. It is with that faith that we see that our life in the valleys is just as abundant as it is on the mountain peaks. By taking that faith and sharing it with others, they too, experience the peaks even in the valleys of life. For as someone once said, “Little faith will bring your soul to heaven, but great faith will bring heaven to your soul.” When heaven comes to your soul it no longer matters whether you are on the mountain peaks or the valleys below for your soul sings in both places.
All the Altitudes of Life
Won’t you be challenged today to take your faith from the mountaintop peaks to the valleys of real-life living a life of full abundance in the shadows as well as the sun? Root your convictions in the promises of God while allowing your motivation to gain momentum with the blessings and experiences of the peaks. Lastly, surround yourself in the comfort of knowing that your God loves you so deeply, provides for you abundantly and is with you always no matter what altitude you may find yourself in.
God does not make the mountains in order to be inhabited. God does not make the mountaintops for us to live on the mountaintops. It is not God’s desire that we live on the mountaintops. We only ascend to the heights to catch a broader vision of the earthly surroundings below. But we don’t live there. We don’t tarry there. The streams begin in the uplands, but these streams descend quickly to gladden the valleys below. Henry Drummond
Matthew 17:14 -21, Mark 9:14 -29, 2 Peter 1:15-21
What Are Your Thoughts?
Do you relish the experiences found on the mountaintop peaks of your life? Have you found yourself not wanting to come down from the mountain and get real with life in the valley? Share your thoughts on the importance of knowing that your faith must make sense both on the peaks and in the valleys.