Mount Everest is the highest peak in the world. Each year hundreds of people attempt to “touch the void” and stand on rooftop of the world. The peak of Mount Everest is 29,029 feet. To put that in perspective, it’s the cruising altitude of most commercial jet liners. Think about it this way, it usually takes you about 10 minutes to get to that altitude when you take off in a huge jumbo jet with both engines at full power.
God didn’t create us to exist at these high altitudes. Therefore, Prominence Peak on Mount Everest could be called the most inhospitable spot on the planet. Yet each year, hundreds of people devote their life savings and months of extreme physical energy to stand on that peak. Sounds crazy right? Not to a mountaineer.
Mountain top vistas
If you were to ask the average mountaineer, why they would devote the kind of time and energy to climb to the roof of the world- the answer they will probably give you is… “Because it’s there!” In other words, they climb that mountain because it’s the highest. If there was another mountain taller than Everest, they would climb that one instead. Basically, mountaineers are crazy.
In the Bible (Luke 9:28-29), Peter, John and James got a chance to see the greatest mountain top view in human history. They were able to see a view more spectacular than the image from the top of Mount Everest. For a brief moment, God gave them the privilege to see Jesus in all his glory on top of the mountain. In other words, for just an instant, they got a chance to see what it’s going to look like in Heaven.
They were so captivated by what they saw that they didn’t want to leave. In Luke 9:33 Peter suggests making a tent and staying on the mountain with Jesus. Who can blame him, you’d want to stay there forever too. There’s no doubt, that the views on top of the mountain are awesome. The view from the top is worth the effort. But we can’t live on top of the mountain. As awesome as the view is, we weren’t created to live up there.
Thorns grow in the valley
As Jesus was coming down off the mountain, he was confronted with problems (Luke 9:37). Imagine you’re Peter, John or James. You’re still trying to wrap your mind around what you just saw on that mountain when Jesus was transformed before your eyes. Now, you haven’t even made it all the way back down the mountain and already life gets hard again. I’m sure, they were ready to go right back up that mountain with Jesus to get away from their problems.
Life is hard in the valley. Thorns grow in the valley. The laurel gets thicker in the valley than it does on top of the mountain. More people die coming back down the mountain than die going up it. It’s what mountaineers call “the perils of the descent”. It’s only natural to want to escape the problems in the valley by hiding on top of the mountain with God. Don’t let the troubles of the valley cause you to run to the hills. You see- God is able to show you his power and his protection in the valleys. David experienced God’s love and mercy in the “valley of the shadow of death” (Psalm 23:4). David experienced God’s comfort and protection only after going through the difficult valleys with him (Psalm 23:5-6).
Bad days and best days
The valleys of life can be harsh and painful. As difficult as the valleys may be, sometimes we only get to experience God’s protection in the valleys. Yes, the mountaintop views are spectacular but the experiences in the valleys make the mountains all that more enjoyable. If you know Jesus personally, remember- life is a valley. God’s Holy Spirit is walking through this valley with you. There’s not a step you take in the valley that he is not by your side. Even the worst day with Jesus is still better than my best days on the mountain without him. And when this life is over you will get to spend eternity on the mountain with Jesus (Revelation 21:3).