“And it came to pass that on the next day, when they were come down from the hill, much people met Him.”
Our spiritual mettle is not made on the mountaintops of glory; it’s forged in the valleys of fiery trials (I Pet. 1:6-7).
Oh how sweet those times of ecstasy in the Lord when the Holy Spirit’s Presence is so evident you could almost reach out and touch Him. How we long for those Mt. Carmel experiences where the fire falls and the Lord moves in power (I Kings 18:37-39); yet, if we’re not careful, our excitement over these powerful encounters will soon be replaced by moments where we feel so all alone and even despair of life itself (I Kings 19:1-4).
Peter, James and John’s experience on the Mount of Transfiguration was unlike anything they’d ever experienced before. Not only had they witnessed the miracle of Jesus’ visible transformation (Lk. 9:29), they’d also seen those patriarchs of old—Moses and Elijah—whom they’d read about from childhood and revered as great examples of faith (v.30).
No wonder Peter wanted to build a spiritual KOA camp there (v.33).
We would have too!
Yes, the desire to camp out on our spiritual “mountaintops” is always greater than our desire to descend into the valley. . .where the people and their problems are. . .where our feebleness of faith is exposed (vv.38-42). . .where our fleshly pride is revealed (vv.46-48). . .where we want to “call down fire from Heaven” upon those who oppose us (vv.51-56). . .and where the call to discipleship always reminds us of the cost of following Him (vv.57-62).
And, this will always require us to “come down from the mountain.”
Thank God for those occasional, ecstatic moments that both thrill and infill us; yet, do not seek to make them the norm—for that is a form of idolatry, i.e., coveting the experience more than the One Who met us in that moment.
No, thank God for those “mountaintop moments” when God seems so real and your faith seems so strong. But, never forget they are “seasons of refreshing” (Acts 3:19) that renew us and further equip us for “the race that is set before us” (Heb. 12:1c).
Who of us can fathom the great weariness of mind and anguish of soul the Lord Jesus must have felt during His earthly ministry when others were constantly coming to Him with their needs and the scribes and Pharisees were constantly looking for ways to “provoke and entrap Him” (Lk. 11:53-54)? And, this was further compounded by the fact that He knew ahead of time what they’d think, say and do, the motives of their heart, etc. Oh how great His agony!!
But, still He loved. And, still He touched. And, still He forgave.
And, He calls us to do the same. Just as the Lord God sent Elijah down from the mountain after speaking to Him “in a still small Voice” (I Kings 19:12), so He sends us back out into the “highways and hedges to bring the lost to Him” (Lk. 14:23). May we be found faithful.
By Tom Smith Morning Manna Dated May 30, 2010