The Valley…

Hanalei-River-Valley-Kauai-Hawaii-1-1600x1200(Photo Credit: http://travelphotopic.blogspot.com/2011/10/amazing-valley-picture.html)

“The true test of our spiritual life is in exhibiting the power to descend from the mountain. ” – Oswald Chambers

Now, it is really easy to type that and really believe it. It’s quite another to live it. What are mountain experiences? When Moses went up to Mount Sinai to abide with the Lord, something miraculous happened. He was refreshed, renewed, and recommitted to the cause. Additionally he was physically marked by the presence of God. His face was radiant (read Exodus Chpt. 34)! When Moses returned to the people after 40 days of being in the presence of God (and he LIVED people!!!), he brought back the second copy of The Ten Commandments. I say second copy because the first time that Moses went up the Sinai and came back with the tablets with the laws, the people had gotten cabin fever and started making idols . When Moses confronted the situation, Aaron who was left in charge, became defensive and such with his “well they asked me to give them something to worship man….so like we got gold and stuff, and I melted it and all of a sudden a golden calf statue came out…” (that is not a direct quote from the bible, it’s my paraphrased personified version). This angered Moses. Well angry is a kind of an understatement. He got so mad that he melted their idol and made them drink it, and additionally broke the tablets in his grief of the people’s spiritually adulterous cray-cray (extreme insane craziness).

I digress…

Moses went back up on the mountain and had some more alone time with the Lord. I am sure that this was awesome! I can’t even begin to imagine what it must have been like to be  face-to-face with God and live through it. Not only that, to have the words from God’s mouth spoken directly to you. To be entrusted with such a holy and precious transcription is something I can’t even imagine having the honor to even see over someone’s shoulder. God chose Moses. God was also gracious to Moses who acted out in his flesh and destroyed this work the first time the Lord gave it to him. I mean, wow…God could have totally struck Moses dead for that, but He didn’t. Our Lord is so incredibly gracious and loving, I wish we really understood this because I think there would be a lot more people brought to salvation.

Can you imagine how Moses may have felt? I bet he was thankful that he was allowed to be in the presence of the Lord, yet again, and still be alive. I am sure that he was honored, but also feeling very meek because of his unworthiness. I am sure he was really excited with a reverent fear of the Lord. If I were Moses, I would want to just camp out with God forever because the people, ugh, the people were so needy, whiny, bratty, spoiled, impatient, rude, and they were filled with such ingratitude. No wonder why Moses was flustered! Instead of the Lord becoming impatient with Moses’ impatience, He chose to bring Moses into fellowship with him on the mountain top in order to give him a break, and also to make sure that important business was handled.

That is what our mountain top experiences are for. They are not for us to linger. We have mountain top experiences so that we can continue our day to day life in the valley. I like the picture that I chose of the valley for this post because there are a lot of elements there. There are green pastures and pastures that look like they are barren, or that the harvest has ended. There are streams of water and the land area is vast. This signifies the journey of our lives. There is a lot to do – there are seasons to experience (fruitfulness, harvest, dryness, and refreshment). Then, you see the mountains in the distance. They are steep and peak with a quick drop off back to the valley. This is synonymous with what our face time with God is like in those “GLORY HALLELUJAH” moments where it seems like everything is right in the world and are are feeling the anointing all over our being. They are quick and to the point, then it is back to work.

Oswald Chambers remarks:

We are not made for the mountains, for sunrises, or for the other beautiful attractions in life— those are simply intended to be moments of inspiration. We are made for the valley and the ordinary things of life, and that is where we have to prove our stamina and strength.

The biggest reason I chose the photo is because of the rainbows. Rainbows are actually spherical not protractor shaped anomalies that have unicorns and marshmallows. They are continuous and never end. It signifies that God’s promise (everlasting life and redemption for those who believe in him) will never be taken away. We have to persevere during the mundane, day to day life because God has called us to be faithful. He has called us to persevere because there is such a reward waiting for us, and it is much better than anything we could ever imagine.

Hebrews 12: 1-3

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.  We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. 

Our lives are meant to be a step-by-step journey with close guidance of our Lord. He gives us one task at a time. I know it seems like sometimes the bottom drops out and we are juggling so much, but in that season that is our one task. Then when that season ends and that assignment is complete, the Lord will give us something else. If you were to take a few moments to plot out where you were five, ten, or even 15 years ago and the various experiences and responsibilities you had, I bet you would see that they each built upon each other.  Our God is quite logical and methodical. We can’t always see the bigger picture depending on what side of the mountain we are on. If we are in the foothills, certain things seem distant and distorted. You can only see this big rock in front of you and not much else. Once you are on the mountain top, you see the whole world before you. You begin to understand how God is piecing together puzzle for you at the moment. That is why those mountain top experiences are meant to be short; we don’t need to know everything right now. We need only a glimpse to give us a little more inspiration to keep moving, and to anchor our perspective in the truth.

So during this valley time, the Lord has been faithful to continue to lead me on the path where there are plenty of streams. There are days I feel like I have no idea what on Earth I am doing. There are many days that I long for that mountain top glee, but I remember that the mountain top is not the source of my joy. My joy comes from the Maker of the mountain and as long as I remember that truth, it won’t matter whether I am on top of the world of schlepping through the mire.

One verse that is has been in the back of my mind lately that really makes me want to pursue this time faithfully is Luke 16:10, which states “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much..” That is very uplifting and promising when we are doing things that we don’t really want to do whether we are underemployed, trying to follow a healthy lifestyle, working on creating and or repairing relationships, etc.  This lets us know that if we stay disciplined we will be rewarded with more. The caveat is the second part of that verse: “…and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much..” BURN! So, we do what we can with the small things is a direct correlation to what we will do when we have more. What you practice (sow) is what you will reap.

So in this valley, be faithful and prudent with the mundane tasks of life. We should not be so prideful to say that we are too experienced, good, or qualified to do what is being asked of us. Our life must be as a perpetual understudy and apprentice to the Lord so that we can persevere and in due time there will be a reward of  wonderful blessing (Galatians 6:9 paraphrase). Those blessings (mountain tops) are also full of responsibility (valleys). While learning to traverse these very different terrains is difficult, it is worth the struggle of the journey.

 

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