It had been so many days of following Jesus from one city to the next; dirty sandals and aching backs. But this day was different. He led his most trusted disciples – Peter, James and John up a high mountain. And there in the wind and the cold, far from the cares of the everyday world, He was transformed before them. Jesus appeared as He truly was, in all His glory. His face shone like the sun and His clothes turned bright white. Can’t you picture the disciples shielding their eyes?
And then Peter, that disciple who had a comment about everything, says to Lord in all his excitement, “It is GOOD for us to be here.” He was content on that mountain, so far away from the pressures of the world back there – pillows that were rocks and callused feet and all those people and their never ending needs! Yes, up here on mountain, in the presence of the King of Kings – that’s where Peter wanted to pitch his camp.
I know what that’s like…
It was fourteen days of sheer bliss filled with sunrises over an endless blue ocean, sun-kissed skin, champagne and dessert every evening, fluffed pillows and swans constructed from bath towels. I wore fancy dresses and he wore a necktie every night. There were flowers in my hair and beads around my wrists. We drank from coconuts and swam in translucent waters.
We were far away from the persistent chirps of texts, emails, posts and alerts from those little black boxes. We fell asleep when we were tired and we woke up whenever we wanted to. We wrote messages in the sand visible only until the next tide. We held hands and shared dreams.
And it felt good. Good enough to stay forever. Who would want to leave such a place? Who would want to do marriage anywhere else?
But the truth is, marriage isn’t meant to be lived in the honeymoon. If we stayed forever in the paradise our marriage would not survive when the rains came.
Marriage is meant to be lived back home, where it gets cold and it snows so many times you lose count. Marriage is meant to be lived in those days when the bank account is negative and you’re eating PB&J for the second night in a row. Marriage is lived where the socks are always left on the floor and the dogs tear a hole in the carpet. Marriage is meant to be lived in the height of an argument and in the falling of a tear. Marriage is lived where the tire goes flat and the family member passes away. Marriage is lived where the kids are fighting and the dinner burns.
And the same is true with Christianity. Oh, I’ve had those “mountain top” moments like Peter experienced, where the glory of God shines over everything in my view. Those times at a summer camp or a mission trip where Jesus felt so incredibly close. So high up, where I could see everything from His perspective. And, like Peter, I never want to leave that mountain of joy. If only I could live on the mountain, then all would be right.
But, God didn’t mean for us to live on the mountain top. We were made for the valleys, for the grind of ordinary life. Perhaps, He gives us those summit experiences to refuel our cold and weary souls so we can go BACK down to the valleys where we live each and every day. Those dark places where we can lift others up.
One day, there will be a mountain of glory and joy before us, one in which we will never have to come down from. One day we can stay in His presence forever. But, for now let’s come down and light up those valleys.