Down In The Valley

Luke 9:37, “On the next day, when they came down from the mountain, a large crowd met Him.”

Mountain tops. And valleys. Let’s be honest for a minute. Given the choice, given the chance almost every single one of us would pick the mountain top over the valley. In fact, it seems like a real “no-brainer” to be completely truthful. Called out from the routine and ruts of daily living? The privilege of spending time alone with God? Being privy to manifested glory and supernatural manifestations? The audible voice of God? Divine inspiration? Personal revelation? The unforgettable experience of a life-time? Yeah, I got to go with the mountain top personally.

But the reality is that we aren’t called to stay on the mountain tops. No matter how grand or glorious the experience the time comes when we have to descend back into the valley of human existence. Just look at the life of Jesus. He was the One who had brought the 3 disciples up onto the mountain top in the first place. He was also the One who led them back down into the valley the following morning. Why? Because Jesus had come to seek and save that which was lost. And very seldom do you find the lost living on the mountain tops. No. For the most part it is in the valleys where the masses and crowds of people spend their days.

Think about it. Jesus knew what awaited Him in the valley that morning. A demon possessed boy fighting for his very life. A desperate father struggling to find answers and hope. Disciples who were disturbed and confused over their inability to help either the father or his son. Religious leaders who were more concerned with maintaining ritual and rules than with providing compassion and mercy. Crowds longing to see miracles but blind to their own spiritual need. This and much more awaited Jesus in the valley that morning. In the valley was worry, despair, fear and unbelief. And yet, Jesus still rose that morning and chose the valley over another day on the mountain top.

We really shouldn’t be surprised by His choice. Remember that Jesus was the One who left heaven to come here to this earth in the first place. (I mean, if that’s not giving up the mountain top for the valley, I don’t know what qualifies.) Those of us who are called by His name should take a page from the book of His life when it comes to this issue. We all love the mountain top experiences of life. But far too often we forget that so many people are struggling to survive down in the valley. They desperately need to hear the life-changing news of Jesus Christ. They are longing for someone who will stand beside them in their time of need and provide a helping hand, a listening ear, and a loving heart. Sadly, we look down from the heights of our own “experiences” and ignore their need and their pleas. We are far too consumed with our own need to even consider leaving the mountain top.

See, I still remember the life that I used to live. Struggling to survive against demonic control? Been there. Done that. Spent almost a decade as an alcoholic and addict. In desperate need of help and answers? That’s the story of my life. I know what it’s like to live in the valley of worry, despair, and fear. But I also know what’s it like to have Jesus step into the mess of your life and transform everything. I know what it’s like when His disciples allow themselves to be His vessels of help and relief. Yes, I have spent a lot of time in the valley over the years. But through it all, in spite of it all I have never been abandoned. Never been forsaken. Never been alone. No matter the circumstances, no matter the need the God of the mountain has walked with me through every single step of the journey. He did not remain aloof. He did not remain distant. But He came to me in my time of need. Yes, Jesus was transformed on the mountain top. But when He came down to the valley that was when lives were transformed. I know that to be true from firsthand experience. 21 years ago He visited my valley and changed everything. Sure, maybe the mountain top experiences in my life have been few and far between. But He has proven Himself faithful through every valley of my life. Yes, the mountain top times are great. But it’s in the valley where we need Him most.