I’ve just finished a 40 day fast. These are the thoughts.
I’ve been on many mountain tops. I mean, real ones included and it ain’t easy to get up there. Being a flat-lander climbing a mountain is no small task. Being a flat-lander with limited exercise (not because I’m incapable, I’m just lazy) trying to climb a mountain is ridiculous. Still, all the heaving and near vomit moments are worth it in the end. My raisin sized lungs start to relax a little once I find a tree stump and sit a spell.
The view is spectacular and the air is clean and crisp. I can see for miles.
The funny thing about growing up in the church is that everyone went on and on about how “We can’t stay on the mountaintop. We’ve got to come down back into reality. Get in the valley where it’s hard. You know, those worship moments are just mountaintop experiences. Not real life.”
Wait, did you not just see me HEAVE getting up to that mountain top experience? That was no joy ride. That was my most difficult work EVER! What do you mean I need to come back down to reality? Where? Where you are? Where you sit around and make judgements of those climbing the mountain? Can’t you see they are striving for glory? HIS glory. You? You’re just getting fat on your Porch of Complacency in the valley.
Getting down to that valley? Shoot, that’s easy…
just lie down…
No effort. No work. Just lie there. The valley will come to you.
I believe, however, there is a different Valley. One that is as real as the Mountaintop. This Valley is the one we worked just as hard to come back down to. We leave the Mountain, grab our walking stick, and head back down. In this Valley we must get back to work. Back to fighting the locals who bring us the temptations of Irritability, Worry, Contempt, Bitterness. This Valley is real, but no picnic. In the Valley, we must always be looking to the Mountain from where our help comes from. Look to the Mountain and plan when we will make the long journey back up there.
I’d like to stay on the mountaintop. It’s harder to get to. Requires more of me. Forces me to focus on the goal and keep going. I’m leaner and stronger because of the mountain. The slippery slope, crumbling rocks, prickly trees, and darkness in the forest keep me alert and mindful. The pain in my body urges me to move because rest is coming. The rest is at the top, not the bottom. If I’ve hit bottom in the valley, that is no time to rest. Still, at the top, we choose which valley to go to. Do we tuck and roll in to the valley of Discontentment and Laziness? Or, do we take a deep breath, tighten up our shoe strings, grab our stick and start walking into the Valley of Grace.
Highs and lows don’t have to mean we’ve been taken for a ride. They can mean we worked hard for both.
We look like Moses on the mountain and like Jesus in the Valley.
It is in both you find the Glory.