Brace yourself. This might be a lot.
This past weekend I had an amazing time of worship. It was one of those events where the presence of God is evident–where strangers get together in a room without a set schedule and worship the King of Kings. It was a time of joyous singing, jumping and dancing, and at times,being bowed down in complete reverence. We lost track of time. No one wanted to leave for fear of missing out on the beauty of this time.
Christians often diminish the mountaintop experiences (times where you behold the glory of God like in Matthew 17), because life happens in the valley. Life is more often the desperation of wading through the murky depths of a polluted river in a deserted valley. But I believe we were created for mountaintops.
I believe those moments of closeness and oneness with God, those times where he becomes our deepest desire is really what we were created for. I think we were made for the unity that Adam and Eve knew with a God who walked through the Garden (Genesis 3:8).
So why do we overlook these mountaintops?
Well, in this life they are merely peaks. They contain fulfillment, jubilant cries, and an unmatched ecstasy. They are moments we cherish and strive for. However, we cannot use these experiences to create a foundation for our faith. Although we are made for mountaintops, we are commissioned to valleys. We no longer live in an uninterrupted place of worship. We must fight to follow Jesus. There are enemies waging war against our faith (Ephesians 6:12). The presence of sin has forced us into valleys.
Just as rivers flow from melted snow on the mountaintops. I believe the Lord wants our lives to flow out of the amazement of his glory. He is our river in the midst of the valley of the shadow of death, and his waters are pure. In these very valleys where we live our lives, we can have communion with God and abide in his nearness. We can drink from the living water that restores the soul and never thirst again (psalm 23, John 7:37-39, John 4:13-14). God wants to redeem the valley.
I think of Stephen (Acts 7), who, when faced with death, found joy in Christ. But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. “Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God” (Acts 7: 55-56). How in the midst of such a dire situation, might Stephen say such things? How is he encouraged while knowing of his own impending death? I think Stephen understood the nearness of the Lord, the promises of eternity, the redemption of the valley, and the worship he was created to give God.
We are made for mountaintops, but commissioned to valleys.
We shouldn’t diminish the peaks, but remember it as a testament to the glory of God. The same glory we must hold on to in the dark valleys of life.
We can rejoice that we have a God that calls heaven his throne and earth his footstool (Isaiah 66:1). Surely he is greater than our tentative valleys.
Even though I walk through the
valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
-A World Changer