Leaving the Mountain

We all have seasons in our life where we feel like we’re on top of the world. The struggles of life are there… the bills, the job, the tough relationships….but life seems to be on the optimistic side. Mountain top experiences are often extremely spiritual experiences where God really reveals who He is to us in clearer ways than we have seen before.

When I think of mountain top experiences in the Bible, I’m reminded of Moses’ experience on the mountain alone and Jesus experience on the mountain when he was with Peter, James and John.

In Exodus 32, Moses had led the people into the wilderness and God tells Moses to leave the people and go on the mountain to meet with Him. God spoke deep truths to Moses and even provided the original tablets for the 10 commandments while he was there. Yet, while he was on the mountain, his brother and the mass of people drifted spiritually and created and worshipped a golden calf.

Moses stepped down from the mountain into chaos. It’s often that way in our lives. We go from a high point to a period of chaos and it can leave you wondering what happened to the mountain top experience.  

In Mark 9, Jesus directs Peter, James and John to go with him on the mountain.

Mark 9:2-9

2Jesus took Peter, James and John with him and led them up a high mountain, where they were all alone. There he was transfigured before them. 3His clothes became dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them. 4And there appeared before them Elijah and Moses, who were talking with Jesus.

5Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” 6(He did not know what to say, they were so frightened.)

7Then a cloud appeared and enveloped them, and a voice came from the cloud: “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!”

8Suddenly, when they looked around, they no longer saw anyone with them except Jesus.

9 …they [came] down the mountain….

There’s always a moment where “we come down from the mountain”. Life is not sustainable on the mountain…Day to day life is not meant to be lived on the mountain. Why the mountain?  What do we do with the mountain top experiences? What can we do on the mountain to ensure we fully experience what God wants to teach us?

If I were to draw my spiritual journey to this point there would be a series of mountains and valleys —high points and low points that would mark those mountain top experiences and also the low times.

I’d like to believe that our journey through life is just a straight diagonal line climbing higher and higher with no dips….. but that’s not the way I see the journey God leads us on….

As I think about the mountain top experiences of life and consider this passage in Mark, I’m reminded of several principles that can cause reflection on our journey.

  • We’ll often find direction for the next step in our life while on the mountain…
  • We grow most in the valleys….
  • We can’t create our own mountain top experiences with God, but we can definitely keep them from happening…
  • The stakes get higher at every level…
  • Momentum from the last mountain top will lead us to the next experience…
  • Reflection on the mountain allows us to see where we have come from and where we are going

Where are you today…on the mountain? in the valley? Remember that life is a journey and there’s much for us to learn if we keep our eyes open to God’s work in our lives.

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