Monday, October 4, 2010

Coming Down from the Mountain

We Christians love mountain top experiences! We love the elation--the awesome presence of God--the emotional excitement! We want to stay there forever, but oh, how selfish of us. We are blessed with mountain top experiences, and there is a purpose for them, but we cannot stay there forever!

The reason for our mountain top experiences with God is that "afterwards [we] may get down among the demon possessed and lift them up." Chambers says our "Spiritual selfishness always wants repeated moments on the mount." Spiritual selfishness... ouch! When we are in those moments, we feel like we could do anything. But what good would those times be if we never came down from them? They would mean nothing to anyone but me. They would never reach anyone but me, and that goes against everything God wants to do through His people on earth. Yet again, "It's not about me!" The real work of the gospel happens in the trenches, not on the mountain tops. The mountain tops prepare us for the trenches. And if we never put to use what we learn on the mountain top, it is all for naught! It is wasted.

"We must be able to mount up with wings as eagles; but we must also know how to come down. The power of the saint is in the coming down and living down," says Oswald.

When I am on the mountain top, I say all kinds of things like, "I can do all things though Christ," and "I'll serve You however You call me to serve," and "Whatever it takes, Lord!" But what happens when the thing God is calling me to is humiliation? What if it means I must lose everything--every comfort--every support--even loved ones who I thought I could protect? What then? Will I still say, "I can do all things," when I feel that I cannot bear the thing that life has laid on me?  Will I still say, "I'll serve You however You call me to serve," when the thing He's called me to do is take care of a sick loved one or clean a disgusting house? Will I still say, "Whatever it takes, Lord!" when my loved one dies, or worse yet, becomes trapped in a life of addiction or homelessness?

"It takes the valley of humiliation to root skepticism out of us. Look back at your own experience, and you will find that until you learned Who Jesus was, you were a cunning skeptic about His power. When you were on the mount, you could believe anything, but what about the time when you were up against facts in the valley?" --Oswald Chambers

I've been through a couple of dark valleys and Jesus was so faithful to reveal Himself to me through those times.I wish I could say that I know Him completely now and that I'll never doubt Him again. Yet every time I'm faced with a new valley, I realize I'm not there yet. There is so much more of Jesus to be revealed. So much of Him that I don't yet know or understand. Does that mean more valleys lie ahead for me? Probably. Does that give me warm fuzzies? No, it certainly does not. But I do know that He will be Whoever I need Him to be during those times--that He will walk with me through whatever valley I must walk through--that He will never leave me nor forsake me--and that is my unswerving hope. Is it yours?

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I would love to hear from you! Let me know what you think and how I can pray for you. Most of us are carrying some pretty heavy baggage and the good news is, you don't have to carry it alone! You can lay it at the feet of Jesus, and sometimes we need help just letting go of our baggage and not picking it up again. We're in this together!