Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart, by themselves. (Mark 9:2)
Have you ever had a mountaintop experience? Most everyone at some point in their life have had a mountaintop experience. It could have been at a graduation, a personal achievement, an actual mountain climb, a job that you didn’t think you would have.
My wife and I have experienced them not only the day we were married, and at the birth of our children, but also when we visited Maui some years ago and drove to the top of a volcano mountain. Driving through clouds on our way up, then once at the top, (11 thousand feet above sea level) with clouds below us we were observing God’s beautiful creation. An experience we will never forget as we drove back down.
It was much like what Peter, James and John experienced having climbed the Mountain with Jesus and getting to see his transformation into his heavenly body and listen in on a conversation Jesus was having with Moses and Elijah about his coming departure. This mountaintop experience was a glimpse into the Holy realm of Heaven and the Disciples were awestruck and dumbfounded, Mark said, and they became terrified.
Peter wanted to build three dwellings for these Holy men. He wanted to memorialize this experience it seems and never leave. Then a cloud comes down and God says, “This is my son, the beloved, listen to Him.”
Leaving the mountaintop must have been difficult but imagine what they thought when Jesus said that they must tell no one what they experienced on the mountain top until after He was gone.
Thankfully when we have a mountaintop experience we can tell the world about it, how we can see for miles and miles enjoying the splendor that God has created.
It’s always different when we go to the mountaintop: we can have similar experiences, we can witness similar things but each climb allows us to have great mountaintop experiences. No two are exactly alike, maybe similar but never exactly alike. I remember when my wife and I visited the Grand Canyon two days in a row. We were high up and we thought we would see the same thing we saw the day prior. We may have been in the same spot that second day, but as we looked out it was different.
When you’re on a mountaintop it’s great to look back and then look out over the horizon and say, “I made it, thank you, Jesus”. But, the journey doesn’t end on the mountaintop. Not only can we see where we have been but we also see where we must go.
Jesus and His disciples didn’t stay on top of that mountain of glory, Jesus knew he had work to do and must go back down in the valley in order to reach the next mountaintop.
Once we take in the breathtaking view that the mountaintop affords we realize it’s a place to enjoy the view for a moment. It’s a place to realize what we have overcome, it’s a place to find a short rest with God in order to prepare for what awaits us in the next valley as we journey to the next mountaintop.
Our lives are full of mountaintops, but we can’t get there if we don’t first go through the valley. Valleys are the most fertile parts of our journey; the valleys are where we grow and mature in our faith. The valleys of life are what make us who we are and allow us to have those great mountaintop experiences.
We can’t stay planted on one great experience. God has so much more in store for us. He has more mountains for us to climb, considering conditions in this country and beyond, and he has fertile valleys for us to plant and for us to bear fruit in.
We don’t grow closer to Christ on the mountaintop; we grow close to Christ in the valley. In the valley we pray more, we get into scripture more, we learn more.
The mountaintop is where we look back and see that Christ was with us every step of the way and we look forward and see where it is we must go.
The mountaintop is where we find hope.
The mountaintop is where we see the glory of Christ face to face and that gives us the strength and hope to carry on.