Coming Down from the Mountain

I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to come “down from the mountain,” to transition from a time of getting away to pursue the Lord with great focus and back into the steady rhythm of everyday life. On my first day down, my early morning was a wonderful time of thanksgiving and just basking in God’s overwhelming goodness, but as the day continued, I found myself being impatient, snippy, reactionary, and completely stressed out by the day. In light of my experience in September, I felt ridiculous. Oh, how much I still have to learn!

Of course, as always, good ol’ Oswald has something to say in response to my pondering. Praise God because I sure needed it! =) Here’s what I read tonight from Oswald Chambers’ My Utmost For His Highest:

The Place of Exaltation
October 1

“…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 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 moment 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 mountain top 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.

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