Have you ever had a divine encounter with God? One where He shows you “this is all that I have for you, all you have in me. This is who you will and are becoming in me? Look at my splendor! Look how I love you and romance you! Come to me!”
Oswald Chambers describes these moments as mountain- top experiences: when we’re at a spiritual climax with Jesus,when He’s wooing us, revealing things to us, giving us visions of the greatness to come.
I’ve spent a year up there on that mountain.
But I’m not on that mountain anymore.
I feel like I nose-dived (against my own will) right off my wonderful, comfortable, easy, exciting, unbelievably marvelous mountaintop and face planted in the middle of the wilderness.
The romance and magic is way up there, and I’m way down here.
There’s just me, God, and a lot of shrubbery.
I can’t see what’s in front of me anymore.
I don’t see this grand vision before my eyes, enticing and exciting me.
I see Him and I see me.
But what about the vision — the mountaintop view of my transformed life and self? The view of a completely perfect, holy human being. The view of a strong, independent woman, an accomplished author, a fearless warrior.
Where did it all go?
There’s a thick fog masking that sight from me.
So, I’ve resigned myself to this: I’m in the valley.
In other words, I’m in the place where things don’t just come without effort, where endurance must take charge, where choices have to be made, where my will shall be tested, where my obedience and submission will be closely watched.
I’m in between who I want to be and who I am, where I want to be and where I am.
I’m at the place of realizing that God humbles the proud and uplifts the humble–but being humbled hurts.
I’m in the place where emotional affection for God is no longer enough. He won’t let it be.
He’s not allowing me to persist in faith based on feeling.
Thank you Jesus for that.
He’s taking me to places I’ve never been.
Some of these places look really intimidating, some look like pure drudgery, some look like they’ll be really difficult.
But, I remember He’s still with me. That, I don’t have to feel intimidated or restless or powerless.
I remember I walk with Comfort as my Guide.
I walk with Truth as my Protection and with Joy as my Strength.
The valley will always be part of our lives. The climbs up the mountain make us sweat, maybe some bodily sweat, but more importantly spiritual sweat. So don’t be like me and waste a few weeks denying or avoiding the valley. The valley is vital to our relationship with God.
I can’t live on these mountain top experiences all the time, and I should start thanking God for that.
Because what joy is there is knowing that my faith was simply a result of high flying, firework feelings?
I want to know that my faith is rooted far deeper than my human ability to feel.
I’m choosing thankfulness in the valley because I know there will be more mountaintop moments. Most gloriously, the moment when His work in me is fully complete, when my faith is perfected at His return.
So, I can handle being in the valley. Even though I feel like there’s no purpose in experiencing this or that, in enduring the bad and the unlovely, I rest in the knowledge that Jesus is with me always, even when I don’t feel Him. And wherever He is, there is life, there is purpose and there is fullness of joy. There is fulfillment far greater than my emotions or my feelings could ever express.