I make an effort each day to read God’s word, as well as to read someone else’s words who know more about God’s word than I. Usually, that means I’m reading Oswald Chambers. This week, he gave me an encouraging word about life in the valley. His focus is on Mark chapter 9, the event is called the Transfiguration. Jesus goes up on a mountain with Peter and John, and they see him become a different kind of being, alongside Moses and Elijah.
Chambers has great words here. He explains how ‘mountain top’ experiences always have to end with an experience in the valley. Of course, we don’t like this. We want to stay up on the mountain, just like Peter and John. But God knows more than we do. Jesus knew more than Peter and John.
“It is in the valley that we have to live for the glory of God. We see his glory on the mountain, but we never live for his glory there.” Those are Chambers’ words. It is always easy to think that we can do something great for His glory while on the mountain, so much so that we try to extend our mountain top experiences in order to do something more. Chambers points out that this should not be pursued. Peter and John couldn’t understand their vision on the mountain. Even though they wanted to stay there, Jesus knew that they had to come down in order to gain understanding. He wants us to live in the valley, with the knowledge and understanding of the mountain. It is in the valley where our true faith is tested. Mountain top experiences rarely involve adversity in faith journeys, and when they do, they are easier to handle because of the presence of God’s glory. God wants us to live with the same faith in the valley, because that’s where life happens. And just like with Peter and John, that’s where the rest of the world is. What kind of Christians would we be if we never left the mountain to share the news of what happened? This is the true test of our faith.
Chambers’ words have special meaning to me today because for more than a year I have seen only glimpses of the mountain as I stare up from the valley. I have lived in 4 different cities pursuing God’s glory. I’ve traveled halfway across the world and now He has me living in a war torn land in the Middle East, trying to understand the vision I had on the mountain. It takes the humiliation of the valley to remove our doubts. On the mountain, it is easy to believe and easy to say yes. But God brings us to the valley so that we can say yes, even there, so that we can believe, even with all that surrounds us, and to give us the true meaning of the vision we receive while on the mountain. He sends us there, so we can live for his glory.