From the mountain, to the valley

Way back in 1988, I was at a youth retreat named imaginatively “Encounter ’88”. It was a camp filled with fun, but there was a serious side too. There were the usual talks and singing (not sure we called it worship back then). I remember it was the first time I had raised my arms in surrender to a God who deserved every part of me. I was a Christian prior to this, but something clicked that camp, and I and a lot of others just “got it.”

We came away from the experience convinced that we could take on the world. We were “soldiers in an army, that God was raising up to change the world.” I remember thinking that everything was going to be different from this point forward. God was on our side. We were floating on experience, and emotion. 

Before long though the emotional side had drifted, as reality hit. There were some that had simply been along for the ride. Others, who hadn’t experienced what we had doubted the reality of the change that had occurred. We had to go back to school and get on with life. From a mountain top experience to a valley of reality.

31 years later, I found myself reading 1 Kings. One of the Syrian Kings came against Israel.  They fought them in the mountains and lost. The Syrians were convinced that the reason for the loss was that the God of the Israelites was a God of the high places, of the mountain tops. If the Syrians were to be victorious, they must take the fight to the valleys, and the plains. This they did and lost again.

What they failed to realise is that God is a God of both the high places and the valleys.

31 years ago, I was on a mountain top with God. I felt closer to Him than I ever had before. What I didn’t realise was that when normality hit, He was the same God and would be just as close.

There are some reading this, who only feel able to come to God when things are going well. We don’t feel that we are worthy if we have spent too long in the valley. Some of us even feel that there is something we can do to make us worthier of approaching the throne.

The truth is that whatever you are going through today, whatever the stage of your climb towards the mountain top experience, whether you have been floating with God, or have been brought back down to earth with a bump, He is right there beside you, fighting on your behalf. You don’t have to wait to call on Him. You just have to call.

It’s ok to just do that. Just to call on Him. Isaiah 40 tells us that “those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength, they will rise up on wings like eagles, they will run and not grow weary the will walk and not faint.”

Wait, and let Him take you to the mountain top like the eagle. Just remember that He looks after the sparrows at ground level too.

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