Mountaintops & Valleys

dustin-scarpitti-1009Mountaintops. The place to be. Often we experience these ‘mountaintop’ moments. We are on top of the world and we can see everything wonderful around us. The view is just incredible and we feel something extraordinary. We wish that the mountaintop moment could last forever and that the feeling would be one that never goes away. Let’s be honest though, it’s not sustainable to stay at high altitudes for too long or something could go wrong. However, the reality is that in life we have these mountaintop moments they don’t last forever. One moment we are taking in the view and then all of a sudden we feel like an avalanche comes out of nowhere and carries us all the way down into a valley at the base of this mountain we spent forever scaling. Usually, these avalanches are things in our lives that we can’t control and are things that we generally fear. They knock us so far down that when we get back up we don’t know how we got into this valley and we tend to wander aimlessly not knowing how to get out.

When we stand on these mountaintops we stand in awe, praising God for all He has done in order for us to get to experience this mountaintop. Then we get hit. Hit so hard off the mountain and end up in this dark valley where we feel God doesn’t dare go. Dark valleys could be our worst possible scenarios in our lives. Physical pain, depression, heartbreak, financial issues, relational problems, whatever seems like the darkest and scariest place to you. What I’m getting at is that every dark valley is different for every person. Often the darkness looms in the form of fear around us. When we are here we walk in fear because we feel that God isn’t walking with us, that He stays on top of the mountain waiting for us to meet Him there. The truth is that God does make His way down into the valley with you. He doesn’t sit waiting for you to come back up but joins you in the dark valley. He was probably waiting in the valley before you even got there.

I came to this obvious revelation when reading Psalm 23:4 where it says “Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close behind me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.” I mean, it was kind of obvious.

As I was reading this I believed that indeed God was with me in the valley but I was seriously challenged when I read for where He was with me. It said He was close behind me.” I couldn’t understand why on earth God would let someone go first in a dark valley, especially a dark valley which we feel we will never escape. I mean God is supposed to be the light isn’t He? Surely he should walk in front? If you walking in the torch the person with a torch walks in front to make sure everyone can see? I know this is so nit-picky but it really challenged me to the point where I continued pondering why. Then I felt God speak to me at different times that week through reflection and speaking to others. This is what I believe He said.

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I’ve got your back.

When people go hiking or walking in the ‘wild’ or somewhere that has rough terrain conditions, you tend to always look what is behind you if you are walking at the back.  Those in front of you look back to see if you still there. When you are at the back always feel fearful that something may come up and get you. I usually look behind me when I go hiking because most of the time I’m at the back (not because I’m unfit but because my girlfriend loves being in the front) and just to be on the safe side I want to make sure that nothing around us or behind us won’t get us, like a snake or something. When we walk in the valley God is the one at the back. He is watching your six. God says “I got your back.” I don’t know about you, but when someone says to me “I got your back.” I automatically feel at peace and know that I can trust this person because they genuinely won’t let me down or care enough about me to make sure I’m more than okay. When God said this to me it made me feel a lot more at ease in my valley because I knew I wasn’t alone and He was protecting me from behind.

I will push you.

I feel that when walking in a valley at some point you have to start walking upwards to get out of it and I think that may get very tiring if it’s a deep valley. That’s the beauty of God.  When you can’t seem to go anymore God pushes you, hands on your back. He helps push you out the valley when you have no more strength. When I hike sometimes I will put my hands on my girlfriend’s back and keep pushing her when it gets steep and hard. God does the same thing. Also when fear consumes you we tend to freeze and don’t want to move. He does the same thing. Hands on your back, pushing you forward. His love pushes you forward, past and through the fear and exhaustion, step by step.

Have faith in the dark.

2 Corinthians 5:7 says “we walk by faith, not by sight.” We have to trust God in the dark that He is leading us even from behind. We have to have faith in Him and trust that He knows the way out of this dark valley. When walking head on into the dark, especially the darkness of our fear that consumes us, we need to know that this valley doesn’t go on forever and that God has your back through it all. With God walking closely behind us we have the freedom of choice as to where we want to go but I believe He will always guide us with a simple suggestion as to which is the best way out. We have to walk by faith and have to trust God.

The valley can be a great place to get close to God, especially with Him walking closely behind us. This gives you the opportunity to spend time with Him and talk with Him the same way two people do when on a hike. When you make it out this valley of darkness you would have grown closer to God and the feeling of spending time with Him may even surpass the feelings of being on the mountaintop.

In conclusion, I love what Jo Saxton tweeted: “It may be that the Spirit of God, out of His loving tenderness, wants you to walk in your valley again to face it with Him.” Even if it is a new valley, allow God to face it with you. Walk closely with Him.

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