I love the mountains! In fact, if I had my druthers, I’d live in the mountains, near a lake where I could go fishing whenever I wanted. I just haven’t figured out how I can do that and still live near enough to Angels Stadium to catch a game whenever I wanted!
Mountains are holy places. It says so in the Bible! And we talk about “mountain top experiences” as holy experiences when we get close to God. So mountains are good. I like mountains! But sometimes, we walk in the valley.
Psalm 23 speaks of the “valley of the shadow of death.” Valleys are places where life can get hard. Ironically, we live and/or worship in Fountain Valley! And yet perhaps that isn’t so ironic after all. Because mountains may be beautiful and refreshing, but it is in the valleys where the fruit grows.
Life can be hard. Life can be burdensome. Sometimes we are so weighed down by the challenges of life that it feels like we are living in a desert wasteland, spiritually. In those times we often do not “feel” like praying, worshipping, or even thinking about God. The enemy loves to taunt us during those times and tell us that “God doesn’t really love us” or even that “God doesn’t really exist”! The ancients called it a “dark night of the soul” or a time of “wandering in the desert.” We all go through it. Some of us many times.
But it is in those times of walking through the valley that we can grow closer to God and deeper in our faith. Instead of giving in to the temptation of abandoning God and our spiritual disciplines, we need to continue struggling through, seeking God even when we don’t want to. Renouncing the tempter and his temptations, and relying on our faith (not our sight) to redouble our efforts to seek God’s face. Because when we do so, we will find that sweet, mountain top refreshment again.
“When you search for me, you will find me; if you seek me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13).