Mountaintops and valleys

“Mountain Top”

I love to sing and I love to pray
Worship the Lord most everyday
I go to the temple, and I just want to stay
To hide from the hustle of the world and its ways[Chorus:]
And I’d love to live on a mountain top
Fellowshipping with the Lord
I’d love to stand on a mountain top
‘Cause I love to feel my spirit soar
But I’ve got to come down from that mountain top
To the people in the valley below
Or they’ll never know that they can go
To the mountain of the LordNow, praising the Father is a good thing to do
Worship the Trinity in spirit and truth
But if we worshipped all of the time
There would be no one to lead the blind

[Chorus]

Now, I am not saying that worship is wrong
But worship is more than just singing a song
It’s all that you say, and everything that you do
It’s letting His Spirit live through you

[Chorus]

That’s an old praise song by Amy Grant from the 70’s. I always loved the way it captures the essence of Christian life. Amy was very young, only seventeen when she recorded that on her first album titled simply “Amy Grant”. I loved her early music. She is very talented.
When you love the Lord at a young age, the devil will throw everything he can at you to drive a wedge between you and your first love, Jesus.
 I think it was not so unusual back then, for a young person to love the Lord, and girls of that age, back then, were all about romantic notions of the  “Prince charming” sort.
That romanticising is fairly normal, but just like in earthly relationships, it changes as you mature. People become attracted, fall in love, eventually marry and the blush and thrill fades, but is replaced ( if done right) with bonds forged in the exercise of doing life good and bad times together as a two-in-one team.
The same goes in our spiritual relationship with the Lord. When I was in high school, I didn’t date anyone until my Jr. year, and that was literally dating, as in, he asks her out, she says yes, he picks her up and takes her out for a nice dinner and conversation, and then he takes her home, to her parent’s house without any mauling and pawing. I don’t think that kind of date happens much anymore. Abstinance is not as “laughable” as it was in the 80’s, but young people today have done most of their socializing onscreen posing as the person they wish they were.
I had all the insecurities of any kid my age, but I didn’t have all the pressures.
I  was in love with the Lord and wasn’t eager to be in a “couple”. That only happened 2 years later. ( A whole saga within itself, that is posted in Purple Morning Glories at the main menu.)
The mountaintop experiences were there. In my daily devotions, in my youth group meetings, in my prayers, all day I kept the line open, sort of chatting with God in my mind. My thoughts of Him were above or alongside, anything else. If I was struggling with math, I told Him. If I had a falling-out with a friend, I talked to Him. If I was humming a tune in my head, I might say ” that’s such a pretty song, don’t you think, Lord?”
So when circumstances change, and we come down from the mountaintop, it can feel like such a bummer. Yet it is true, we aren’t able to serve anyone up there. We have to go down into the fray, just like Jesus came down into the dim and disfunctional world to serve mankind.
Obviously, He has been a better friend to me than I have to Him. Time here in this realm, under the curse, takes a toll.
Just as aging is a surprise we all know is coming, yet we are surprised anyway, the disentigration of the whole of human society, under the curse, grows old, frail, fragile, and yet even students of scripture and prophecy with a basic grasp of how this ends, we are still stunned often. Crisis fatigue is a real thing.
This system is on it’s death bed. Just like we know a saved loved one is going on to more life when they are released from the dying mortal body, the Spirit of Life will withdraw from this world soon. I wonder if God feels any sadness over that. He knows the next 7 years will be 24/7 death. A protracted, tortuous, painful death. But when that is finished, He will bring forth a new age of righteousness and striict justice, and eventually He will burn this earth and make a new one, untouched by sin.
I don’t understand it all. If I could, I wouldn’t know I needed Him. I never met my own aspirations to live for the Lord. That is probably because I had my own aspirations. Once we are twice-born, and blood bought, we are restored in position, as to our relatedness and place in His family, but we are uninitiated neophytes at being His and what-all that entails.
When God gives us children, He doesn’t give them as posessions, but as charges, and that goes a long way in helping us begin to understand what it means to be God’s children.
When I think about the crimes happening against children,  I almost can’t breathe. The  Adam Walsh case wasn’t the first, but it seemed to be the start of connecting and streamlining child-find resources and agencies nationwide.
God is clear in His sentiment about children. Woe to anyone who harms a child. I tremble at the mere thought of what God will do to the traffickers using children, to cross the border, to become rich and powerful, to receive satanic power. I tremble also at what those children endure and it is hard for me to understand how God allows it. I believe He is with them, helping them bear it in the same way He promises us to never leave or forsake us, and to make a way to endure every trial, the way He was with the martyrs.
I guess I may be trying to express something all of us are contending with. The weariness of living in an ever-darkening world.
The mountaintops of this life  seem a long way back in the rearview mirror. The crumbling of what had become a façade of the American church has at least provided a glimpse of the magnitude of the infestation of wolves in the pulpits and unclean fowls in the branches.
I live in an area where all the churches are either dead or apostate. I live with awareness of my spiritual vulnerability, and I have tried to serve “where I am”. Serving where you are is not limited to location. Circumstances play a role, but I think it also includes ” where you are” spiritually. I listen to sermons online every day. I have to contend with all of the “suggested” videos for other stuff, and that is a LOT of  distraction. I listen while I do stuff around the house. But sometimes I just have to look for some hymns to listen to. To circumvent the analytical side of my mind, and nourish my spirit.
I am so thankful for those who are ministering online, providing sustenance, les and my well run completely dry. I spent a lot of years daily asking God to prepare me and our family for whatever was coming down the road as we live these final days. My faith is in His faithfulness, not my own.
Several years back, when I was involved in an intercessory ministry, I dreamed about a flood and many fish in the sanctuary of the church we attended. Interestingly, three other people reported having a very similar dream. All three of them believed the flood represented a coming major revival, the fish being the many new Christians. My dream was different in that the flood left only scores of dead fish. 
Not very long after that conversation, that church started falling apart, starting with the pastor’s family. Long-existing fissures cracked, the pastor stepped dpen, a prior pastor, retired, but still attending (bad idea, retire, go elsewhere), took it upon himself to find pulpit-fillers, and they ranged from new converts to women to N.A.R.
Ichabod!
I have written about these experiences with various churches before. I take very seriously the warning of not forsaking the assembling together. It bothers me greatly.
But it has done something else too. It revealed to me how much I still tend to think in terms of meeting expectations of a given church and pastor, (or whomever sets the tone, as sometimes that is not the pastor).  On the one hand, we are meant to have a shepherd watching over our souls, but it seems more often than not, to result in false yokes, bondage to something other than God and His will. So being without a church has also been somewhat liberating, paving the way back to that organic one on One relationship with the Lord. It is similar to getting re-acquainted with your spouse when the kids leave the nest.
I am in no way saying it is fine to not have fellowship. I still do have some because I have Christian friends. But it is just another ” terrain”. Not mountaintop, not valley, maybe the rolling foothills? Not easy, but a leg of the journey like all the others? Seasons.
I have stopped trying to make myself into the person I imagine God wants me to be, and let Him accomplish that Himself. It was not really a “wise”, or even conscious determination on my part, so much as it is just “what is”.  I do know there are times God has to get us aside, alone, no one else around, to get through to us.
When our boys were little, there were 2 years I was able to lavish my attention on the oldest before the second (and last) one came along. When the oldest started school, I then lavished.attention on the youngest, so they both got to have me “to themselves” for a little while, and I got to enjoy getting to do so, because kids need to know you love them individually and care specifically about them and their cares, adventures, etc.
To everything there is a season. Hills, valleys, fast highways, slower country lanes that allow you to breathe and decompress, gain perspective, and maybe even enjoy the scenery and reflect on things.

Img credit, A.G. Lloyd

With God, it’s all good, and all for a purpose. He is always accomplishing sometthing in us. Sometimes that takes a lot of effort and cooperation on our part, but sometimes maybe it is a little like surgery, where the anesthesiologist sends you off to LaLa land while the expert does his work.

Play nice!

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.