26 FEB 2017Image Not Found.
The last two summers of High School I spent several weeks camping in the western wilderness. One summer I was with a group of college students studying plant and wildlife and the next summer I was with my family. Both summers I got to climb mountains and the Great Sand Dunes. I always looked for the tallest to climb. I will never forget what it felt like to be on top of the world. I could look around and see nothing above me but the sky. Every mountain peak or sand dune was beneath me. People seemed like ants or could not be seen at all. I experienced a sense of awe feeling like I was in the heavens. I felt at peace because there was nothing that distracted me from enjoying the inspiring beauty that surrounded me. I have longed many times to experience the mountaintop again!
I will never forget that night when I felt that my life was over. There was no longer any reason to live. I was 23 years old and already my life was in ruin devoid of hope. There in my bedroom, I wept like a baby. In the midst of my despair, God came and enveloped me with God’s loving arms offering to me the forgiveness that I so desperately needed. I will never forget the joy that flooded me when my cousin came to the altar rail to give his life to Jesus Christ and I had the privilege to pray with him. I will never forget that camp when I saw almost one hundred Junior High campers give their lives to Jesus Christ. I will never forget when three youth that I had been working with for months knelt at the altar rail and gave their lives to Jesus Christ. There have been worship services and Bible Studies where the Holy Spirit was so present that my body tingled and I felt a peace blanket me with warmth. I have longed many times to experience the Holy Spirit’s presence like that again!
This Sunday’s Scripture is from Matthew 17:1-9 and we will remember when Peter, James and John had their mountaintop experience. Jesus had led them to the mountaintop. They had experienced what they never had thought was possible. They had heard God speak. They had seen Jesus Christ being lifted-up into the sky. They wanted to stay. But stay they could not. Jesus led them down the mountain. God had met them on the mountaintop but God’s ministry for them was in the valley.
I think that sometimes I desire to go back to the mountaintop not because I am searching for that feeling again but because I am uncertain that I can meet the needs that surround me in the valley. I want to get away. But Jesus always leads me back down the mountain because he needs me in the valley. Will you follow Jesus Christ down the mountain?