Back to Reality
As they were coming down the mountain . . . . Mark 9:9
The problem with climbing mountains is that at some point you have to come down. And believe it or not, coming down is always harder than going up. You’re already tired from the hours of climbing, gravity, loose rocks and tired muscles can make the descent treacherous, and the lower you get to the trail-head, the hotter, more crowded and more “normal” things become.
But unless you’re like Moses and you intend to die on a mountain, mountain-top visits are just that, visits. Mountains offer perspective that the valleys and the plains cannot. They offer an entirely different point of view. For most of us, though, we have to leave what we call normal to visit the mountains. We really aren’t designed for summit living. It’s wonderful to go there, but reality always calls us back. And as Summer is winding down, most of us are hearing that call back to reality.
In the verse above, Jesus and three of his disciples have been up on a mountain. This mountaintop experience turned out to be one that included the disciples seeing Jesus in his original eternal glory. So powerful and beautiful was the scene that Peter offered to set up camp so they could stay there. He wanted to make the mountaintop permanent. Alas, however, it was over as quickly as it started. The glory faded and Jesus and crew headed back down the mountain. Back to the valley, back to problems and obligations, back to reality. And that is precisely what Jesus intended.
The mountaintop experiences of our spiritual lives are designed by God for our well-being. Those moments, days or sometimes weeks of extra intimacy and blessing are sweet gifts from the Holy Spirit. But they are not ends in themselves. They serve a very clear purpose. If the sweetness of Jesus’ unencumbered presence was what God wanted you to have now, you’d be in heaven. Since God brings you back down from the mountain to the valley, then there must be a reason for both.
The mountaintop is where God refreshes. He grants perspective and regenerates life. God uses the mountaintop to revive and encourage his saints. He gives them focus, direction, healing, hope and courage on the mountain. He gives them the strength to go back to the valley, back to reality.
The valley is where God wants us to give away what we received on the mountain. Read the full passage above and note how quickly the disciples found themselves up to their ears in demons. Mountaintops are training grounds for life (and battle) in the valley. The blessings you receive from God on the mountain are not yours to keep. They are yours to share when in the valley. People in the valley need what God has given you on the mountain, so give it away freely. Love them, serve them, pray for them and teach them. Then go back up to the mountaintop for another round with the exalted Savior. There, he will give you more fuel for both you and those in the valley.
Where are you today? Are you stuck in the valley? Are your supplies running low? Does demand exceed supply? Perhaps it’s time to sneak away for some mountaintop time with Jesus. He will refuel you. Or, are you on the summit? Do you, like Peter, just want to build a church and live there? Have you forgotten your calling to the valley? Have you forgotten what it was like to be a valley person? Take what God has so freely given you and get back down to the valley. Share what he has entrusted to you. It’s not yours to keep. There are people in the valley who need what God has given you. Don’t be selfish with your mountain time. Come down and face the demons. It’s time to get back to reality.
©2012 Will Davis Jr. Originally posted on August 8, 2012 on WDJ’s blog.