It’s one thing to live a godly, diligent, good life when, spiritually, you are at the top of a mountain. When you are feeling God’s presence and your prayers are flowing like water and you are getting dreams and visions and messages from the King of Kings – when scripture is as open and clear to you as a window – that’s when it feels like you can do anything, conquer anything, have the victory over anything.
But it is when you are no longer on the mountain that it becomes incredibly difficult. The drudge of daily life, the work without inspiration, the lack of euphoric energy that you became used to while you were basking in God’s tangible light – all that goes away. It is not unChristian to admit this; it is a fact of life. The mountaintop experiences are glorious and lovely, but we can’t live on the mountaintop. The lost do not live on the mountaintop, and they’re certainly not going to climb it. We have to go down into the valleys and even pits to go get them.
It is when you wake up in the morning and have no inspiration, no energy, and no motivation to do anything that you realize how much work still needs to be done in your heart. It is when you get up anyway that a victory is won, even if you feel nothing of it. Sometimes victories in wars are small and uncelebrated. It is when, despite your total lack of motivation and inspiration, you carry on – working, concentrating, trying your best – that the true victories are won. The ones we notice are only cherries on the cake – all these seemingly tiny victories, the daily ones, the tedious ones, the ones without fanfare or celebration, are the ones that really win the war.
This morning I had no desire to get out of bed. I am not depressed, I am not having a crisis. My life is good and blessed and happy. But I feel apathetic and lazy and have little desire to do anything at all. My first reaction is always to feel guilty. How dare I feel sluggish when I have the Holy Spirit in me? How dare I not be excited on a daily basis simply to live? How dare I not feel grateful that I can study full time and that I am where God wants me?
But Jesus never said we would always find everything easy. When you are inspired, when you are on the mountain and feeling euphoric, everything is easy. But when you feel none of these things, you realize how difficult it is to keep living the way God wants us to. Walk in victory; get up and walk (John 5:8); push on (1 Timothy 6:12) and persevere (Romans 5:3-5). We live and walk by faith, not by sight or feeling (2 Corinthians 5:7).
You know…we always have access to the mountaintop. We have cords around our waists that are attached to the peak, and we can go back as much as we want. But the lost? The world? They can’t get up there. They live in the valleys, in the pits. They are quite literally in the valley of death, and hopelessness, and meaninglessness. Who is going to go get them if not us? Who is going to understand them and say, “There’s something so much better” if not us? Who can believe what they have not heard? Who can see if no one has told them to lift up their eyes?
So if you are in a valley, don’t waste time in guilt and self-pity. You are still right with God. Nothing in your relationship has changed, even if you don’t feel Him emotionally. YOU are right with God. That is why He sent you to the valley, to go get others and bring them up to the mountain. Because who will tell them, if not those who have been to the mountain and know the way?
Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.