Living In The Valley

Josh WannerDevotions

And Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good that we are here.” Matthew 17:4

You may have had a time going to a professional sporting event, or maybe a concert where you wanted to wait around to catch a glimpse of the greatest athlete or musician of all time! The anticipation and excitement run high.

What about waking up like the disciples on a mountain top with Jesus? One moment it was a calm and quiet evening. Next time they opened their eyes to bright dazzling light and Jesus, radiant as the sun was not alone. Two men, greatest of the Hebrew faith, were standing with Jesus. Imagine the excitement for Peter, James, and John when they realized that Moses and Elijah stood right before them!

If you were in such a situation, you’d probably want to savor the moment and be there for a while. Peter did, and offered to set up shelters for all of them. That’s when the moment came to an end. It didn’t last long.

The point was for the disciples have a glimpse of Jesus glorified. They were on this mountaintop high. They didn’t want to come down. But the reality was that they needed to live in the valley where every day life exists. God blesses us in those moments on the mountaintop. We in turn live in the everyday valleys being a blessing to others. Jesus’ disciples, after being on the mountain with Jesus, went on to cast out demons. They met people in the valley. And their valley was going to get much darker as they approached Jerusalem and the events of Holy Week.

Oswald Chambers captures it well about life in the valley. The following is a reprint of his October 1 devotion found in his famous devotional book, My Utmost for His Highest.

“The Place of Exaltation”
By Oswald Chambers

Jesus took…them up on a high mountain apart by themselves… —Mark 9:2

We have all experienced times of exaltation on the mountain, when we have seen things from God’s perspective and have wanted to stay there. But God will never allow us to stay there. The true test of our spiritual life is in exhibiting the power to descend from the mountain. If we only have the power to go up, something is wrong. It is a wonderful thing to be on the mountain with God, but a person only gets there so that he may later go down and lift up the demon-possessed people in the valley (see Mark 9:14-18). 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. Yet our spiritual selfishness always wants repeated moments on the mountain. We feel that we could talk and live like perfect angels, if we could only stay on the mountaintop. Those times of exaltation are exceptional and they have their meaning in our life with God, but we must beware to prevent our spiritual selfishness from wanting to make them the only time.

We are inclined to think that everything that happens is to be turned into useful teaching. In actual fact, it is to be turned into something even better than teaching, namely, character. The mountaintop is not meant to teach us anything, it is meant to make us something. There is a terrible trap in always asking, “What’s the use of this experience?” We can never measure spiritual matters in that way. The moments on the mountaintop are rare moments, and they are meant for something in God’s purpose.

Taken from My Utmost for His Highest® by Oswald Chambers, edited by James Reimann, © 1992 by Oswald Chambers Publications Assn., Ltd., and used by permission of Our Daily Bread Publishing, Grand Rapids MI 49501. All rights reserved.