I recently had the opportunity to attend a conference for worship pastors and worship team members. Knowing this event was coming up for several weeks there was a growing excitement among myself and others attending from the team. We were all anticipating what we would see and hear and what ways God would reveal Himself to us.
The weekend’s events did not disappoint. It was an amazing experience marked by powerful worship and impactful teachers and training sessions. It truly felt like we were on the mountaintop; enjoying God’s goodness and feeling His closeness.
The 2.5 hour car drive home was not quite as lively as the drive there. Still, I was running on the fumes of the past 24 hours and encouraged by what had transpired. Sharing stories among the team, we bonded over our collective experiences.
It wasn’t long after getting home however, that I started feeling discouragement and disappointment. Discouragement because I felt the experiences I had over the weekend would be left on the mountaintop and not brought back down with me. Disappointment because I wanted to stay on the mountain a little longer.
Mountaintop dwelling is a reality of a life lived in Christ. We can experience deep moments at conferences, camps, or retreats. Sometimes even Sunday morning itself can be a place where we just want to linger, knowing what Monday will bring. These are high points in our walk; places where we see the Hand of God and think, “I wish I could stay here just awhile longer.” In contrast to our humanness, we catch a glimpse of something other-worldly and it causes us to consider what eternity might look like.
Even in the transfiguration, Peter sees Jesus glorified and desires to camp out in that place:
After six days Jesus took Peter, James, and his brother John and led them up on a high mountain by themselves. He was transformed in front of them, and His face shone like the sun. Even His clothes became as white as the light. Suddenly, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him.
Then Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it’s good for us to be here! If You want, I will make three tabernacles here: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” Matthew 17:1-4
In seeing the glory of Christ revealed and the fellowship with Moses and Elijah, Peter only desires to stay and soak it all in. And who could blame him? But just as Jesus had to leave that place and continue His earthly work, so too must we be ready to withdraw and come back down. In considering this discussion, here are some key points to remember as we come back down off the mountain.
1. Mountaintop dwelling is not always just for us.
This is a hard truth because much of society tells us to do what is best for ourselves and take care of our needs first. This thinking creeps into Christianity and tells us the reason we attend a camp or conference is because we want to better ourselves. Truthfully, the primary benefactor of such events may be ourselves. But it just might be for someone else as well. What good is the mountaintop if it doesn’t help us be better spouses, parents, or children? And beyond that, if it doesn’t cause us to love our neighbor more deeply, what have we accomplished? As much as the mountain affects us inwardly (thoughts and thinking), it must affect us outwardly (words and actions) as well. The moments we have on the mountain must be shared and used to help others see God in a way that is bigger and greater.
2. We can learn just as much in the valley as we can on the mountain.
We don’t really like to talk about the valley or even be in the valley. For most of us, we’d rather use our time trying to get back up to the mountain; to get back to that place where we feel all is right. But God has a use for the valley just as much as He does the mountain. To avoid the valley is to avoid the payoff of what He chisels away and refines in order to make us resemble Him. And God accompanies us in those dark places. “Even when I go through the darkest valley, I fear no danger, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff — they comfort me.” Psalm 23:4
3. Being on the mountain points us toward eternity.
Even if it is just the smallest glimpse, being on the mountain shows us that a higher ideal must exist. All is preparation for the “big event”, a term I have borrowed from my weekend conference. We go to the mountain and God shows us a part of Himself; a fraction of Who He is and What He can do. And although we see through a “mirror darkly”, one day we will see things perfectly clear. The mountaintop shows us this and is a reminder that God will one day return and take us to a place of unending mountaintops. Think of that!
Today whether you are on the mountaintop or in the valley (or somewhere in-between), my prayer is that you would allow God to show you Himself in whatever manner He chooses. He shows up in the big moments yes, but He is just as real through the fire and through the trials we face (another blog topic for another day). An evidence of our maturation in faith is that between highs and lows our devotion remains constant and steadfast. We serve a God who meets us in every moment and is unchanging through it all. What a friend we have in Jesus!
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Be blessed today.