Mountains and Valleys

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There is a very interesting theme of mountains and valleys in the Bible. All kids of high points happen on mountains. Moses gets the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai. Mount Zion is the site of the Jewish Temple. We have the Sermon on the Mount and the Transfiguration on a mountain. The Psalms refer often to mountains. For instance, Psalm 98:8 says, ”let the hills sing for joy together.”

All kids of low points happen in valleys. The Valley of Jezreel is where Jehu killed Jehorum and where Hosea 1:5 says that judgment will come upon Israel. The Valley of Siddim is where Sodom and Gomorroah were located. Achan was stoned in the Valley of Achor. The place that Jesus used to speak of hell was called Gehenna and it is a valley outside of Jerusalem that was used as the city dump. The Psalmist tells us that we sometimes “walk through the valley of the shadow of death.”

This is one of the areas of scripture that is truest to life. We have mountains and valleys. We have high points and low points.

This week I am coming off of a major mountain top. I spent last week on Orcas Island in upper Washington state. It was the last gathering for my doctor of ministry program. It was a beautiful place spent laughing and learning with great friends. It was also the first time since our honeymoon that my wife and I had more than one night away from our kids. My wife even got to fulfill a lifelong dream of seeing Orcas in the wild.

And now it is over. I am back to life. And it feels like a valley. I am tired. I am a bit down. I don’t have enough energy and motivation to get ahead on things. I have been doing the things I need to do, but I am also taking time to recover.

Here is the thing I am clinging to- the feelings of mountains and valleys are not representative of how close God is. God is the Lord of the valleys and the mountains. Psalm 95:4 tells us-

         In his hand are the depths of the earth;
the heights of the mountains are his also.

God is with us in both. In fact, they are often related. Anytime you come off the mountaintop it feels like a valley. Anytime you climb out of a valley it feels like a mountaintop.

So cling to mountain experiences—sometimes they don’t come back around for a while and they are your chance to get a larger perspective. And be patient in the valley because those are the times that can shape your character most. And realize that wherever you are Jesus is Lord there too.

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