“You are either going into a storm, in the midst of a storm or coming out of a storm.”
I can say with certainty that I am not alone when I assume that most people have no desire to spend their lives in the valley. We view them as the low spots in life; the place where our troubles seem to overtake us often. It is sometimes like a wilderness in the valley, and we struggle to see our way. Other areas in the valley might be filled with quicksand or bottomless pits into which we often fall.
The mountaintop, now that is the place we want to be! We rise above all of the challenges in the valley. We are free of the pits and the sinking sand. On the mountaintop, we are no longer overtaken by trouble. There we are free. There is only one problem.
We cannot remain indefinitely on the mountaintop.
I had a God-appointed opportunity today to share this very message with a barbershop full of men. Not the place you would expect a woman to venture into, but a dear friend of ours runs the shop, and I find God often telling me to go and share a word with our friend. He is a great man of God and a wonderful encourager in the Lord. I relish the opportunities my husband and I are given to minister to him.
I had no idea I was going to head to the barbershop, but God did.
A team meeting for the GatHER women’s conference on which I serve had just come to an end. I had to run an errand in town and was planning to stop at a nearby Sonic for a quick lunch. As I prepared to signal for the upcoming turn, I was stopped by a red light where God spoke to my heart telling me to drive by the barbershop and pray with our dear friend.
I told God I was sure our friend was at lunch. Again I felt an overwhelming nudge from the Holy Spirit to go and pray with our friend. It was only a few blocks out of my way, so I went ahead and drove by. Our friend’s car was parked right in front of his shop. He was there.
What was supposed to be a pray and run became a moment of ministry.
All of the men in the shop held hands with me in a circle as I lifted our friend in prayer. As we finished and I turned to leave, a gentleman, said we need not fear for the Lord is our Shepherd.
To be perfectly honest, I’m not sure what was said next. The Holy Spirit was prompting me to speak about the valley and mountain experience. Here is the truth God put on my heart that I shared. Yes, I’ve shared it many times before, but today was different. Today I watched grown men tear up as they received this message.
We cannot remain on a mountaintop for long because nothing grows there.
The valley is the place where vegetation is lush. It is where streams often run and where the animals frolic and play. While the plants can be overwhelming and nearly impossible to navigate through, God presents a path for us to follow.
Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. – Psalm 119:105
God guides our every step through the wilderness. Because the visibility is often incredibly limited and pits filled with quicksand can easily consume us, it is imperative that we trust our Guide. Trusting Him to lead us through the wilderness is all about having faith; a growing confidence in God’s abilities while willingly accepting our lack of ability.
When we reach the mountaintop, we find ourselves in a place that looks back over the valley. It’s beautiful in the valley. It is a place where all things grow. Water is present nurturing the life growing in and around it. It’s warmer in the valley, and the air is far easier to breathe.
Looking back over the valley from the mountaintop shows us the beauty of all that grows there.
It is in the mountaintop experiences we see how God grew us in our trials; how God provided for our every need and guided each step, we took. But the air atop the mountain is thin and little can grow there. So God must lead us back down the mountain to the valley once again. It is there our faith is tested, our personalities refined, and we grow to be more like Jesus.
The men hung on my every word and then thanked God for the message.
It wasn’t my message dear one. It was a message straight from God! He reminded me today first that obedience to His call is beautiful. Next, that we all need prayer and encouragement, especially those who minister to others. It can get dry when we continue to pour ourselves out. So remember that we are to be planted by the streams of Living Water, so we will never wither. Finally, the mountaintop is a beautiful place to look back over from where you came, but you can’t live there. It’s in life’s valley’s that God grows you the most.