April 23, 2021

Mountain Tops and Valleys

Written by Boyd Bailey

Mountain tops are meant to transform you by the glory of God, and valleys are designed to conform you to be more like Christ.”

Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – April 23, 2021

He [Jesus] climbed the mountain to pray, taking Peter, John, and James along. While he was in prayer, the appearance of his face changed and his clothes became blinding white. At once two men were there talking with him. They turned out to be Moses and Elijah—and what a glorious appearance they made! Luke 9:28-31, The Message

Mercy and love kiss the cheeks of my faith when I experience the mountain tops of life. The vistas of God’s faithfulness are fully exposed: past, present, future. What He has done, what He is doing and what He will do. Perspective. Ah, sweet perspective. Mountain tops are necessary to inspire and equip me for the valleys. Most of life is experienced in the valleys. Mundane and misshapen are many of my everyday encounters at work and home. My spirit wants to remain on the mountaintop, but my calling from Christ is to follow Him through the valleys to love others.

Jesus invited Peter, John and James up the mountain to pray with Him. Exhausted, the three disciples made it up the mountain with the Lord and then slumped over in sleep. Their spirit willing to see God—but their bodies needed rest—a sweet sleep from the Lord. Jesus, in His glory, was their wake up call to encounter the mercy and love of the Lord. Faith ignited, Peter wanted to stay and build a memorial. But, as the profound presence of God surrounded them, He gave instructions for living in the valley, This is my Son, the Chosen! Listen to him. On cue—a large, needy crowd was there to greet them, as they came down off the mountain the next day.

“A man called from out of the crowd, “Please, please, Teacher, take a look at my son. He’s my only child. Often a spirit seizes him” (Luke 9:37-38, MSG). 

I confess: mountain tops are terrific compared to the troubles I encounter in the valleys. I don’t like pesky problems that seem to never go away. But I am learning this is why I need the Lord to shepherd me through the rugged terrain of the valleys, to refresh my soul beside still waters and to rest my body in the green pastures of His secure peace. From time to time the Spirit leads me away to the mountain top in a variety of experiences: my daily prayer time, worship at church, a hike up a mountain or a walk on the beach. Reflective and refreshing. On my return, people and problems await, teaching me to love well and discern solutions. Gratefully, Jesus leads me in His love!

Mountain tops are meant to transform you by the glory of God, and valleys are designed to conform you to be more like Christ by the grace of God. Like Jesus, be intentional with your prayer time away from doing, so you can be in the presence of love and mercy. But remember, remaining on the mountain top in a perpetual state of solitude and spiritual ecstasy is not permanent, but preparation. Getting dirty in the valley of death, suffering and sin is your calling. Cherish the mountain tops for giving you the perspective to be effective for God in the valleys. 

“God, my shepherd! I don’t need a thing. You have bedded me down in lush meadows, you find me quiet pools to drink from. True to your word, you let me catch my breath and send me in the right direction” (Psalm 23:1-3, The Message).

Prayer

Heavenly Father, keep me focused on you during the good times and during the difficult days, through Christ’s love, amen.


Application

What perspective did the Lord give me during my last mountain top experience to serve me well in the valleys? 


Related Reading

Psalm 23; Job 13:15; Luke 5:16; 6:12

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