Wednesday, May 6, 2009

From The Mountain To The Valley

There is no place better, no place more serene, peaceful, and enlightening than to be on the mountaintop with God. Moses knew it on Mount Horeb where he saw the burning bush and heard God's voice come out from it (Ex 3:4). He knew it on Mount Sinai as God gave His commandments and ordinances (Ex 19:20). Peter, James and John also discovered this truth when they accompanied Jesus to the mountain top and watched as He was gloriously transfigured. The mountain top is where we want to remain, as the disciples longed to do. When we are there, we are on holy ground because God dwells there. The mountain top is sacred realm, and where God dwells, sin and the world cannot be present.

But we are unable to stay there. As badly as we long to remain and erect "shelters" for the Lord and His companions (Mk 9:5,6), we know in our hearts that, for now, we must return to the valley. It is in the valley where our work awaits us, where the lost wander blindly and need a gentle hand to guide them towards their Savior. Until Christ returns fully in His glory, the mountain top is only a place to be visited on occasion when He knows we need a brief rest from our toil. It is a place reserved for renewal and strengthening before we take up our swords and are thrust back into the battle.

The Lord took me high upon His mountain this last week for a brief rest. I reveled in Him. I rested with Him and delighted in His presence and the blessings He had poured out upon me. But the vacation was brief, for trouble was brewing on the valley floor. There the enemy was hard at work, attempting to destroy those I loved the most, tearing at the foundations God had laid, and undermining tender hearts. He was brutal in his attack, for he chose the weakest part of my loved one's nature to use as a weapon of hatred, rage, and viciousness. I did not wander down the mountain path to the valley floor. I did not even rush swiftly towards the face of this destruction. I felt as though I had been violently thrown from the highest cliff to the cruel and sharp crags that lay below me. Although it was a time and place I dreaded to be, the Lord knew I was needed and did not hesitate to place me there.

But the Lord did not abandoned me to the fray below. I did not go alone. It may have at first appeared to me that He had stayed behind on the peaceful mountain top as the events boiled up around me. Yet, that was not the case. Jesus flew ahead of me as I came crashing down to the valley floor in order to catch me and hold me up. I felt His precious arms envelope me as what appeared to be all Hell breaking loose before my eyes. Prayer poured from my lips as I begged Him to intervene and overcome the onslaught. My heart was wrenched, but He soothed it. My eyes poured forth tears, but He gently wiped them from my face. He threw up impenetrable walls of defense around His children. And His army deflected the arrows and spears that threatened to pierce and kill our hearts. He subdued and drove back the enemy, and as David in Psalm 18 proclaims, "You armed me with strength for battle; You made my adversaries bow at my feet. You made my enemies turn their backs in flight, and I destroyed my foes." (v39,40). How mighty is the Lord our God in battle!

The battle waged yesterday was a victory for my God. Today I am witnessing repentant and humbled hearts yielding to His will. I am seeing forgiveness and love restored to my precious family. Hope once again has overcome despair as we strive to clear the battlefield and rebuild the foundation on which we stand. Praise our Lord Most High for His mercy and grace!

Perhaps, soon, He will allow me another brief rest upon the mountain top to renew my strength and rest from my struggles. I know I will not be able to stay there. And I also know if I am needed in the valley of despair, He will go ahead of me. He will hear my cry for help and stand in readiness to defend all that is precious to Him. I witnessed it yesterday. I saw His mighty strength overcome and deliver us from the enemy's attempt to destroy us. And He revealed to me and mine His tremendous and overwhelming love and how far He will go for us.

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