Have you ever had one of those mountain top experiences with the Lord that rocked your whole world? There are defining moments in your faith journey where the Lord feels so tangible and you experience rapid growth and a passionate devotion to God. You’re on this spiritual high and no one can touch you. By noon you and Jesus are going to conquer the world, and after lunch you both have plans for total galactic domination.
But eventually the conference ends or the season changes. You go back to work or school and your dreams get body slammed by a hard hitting “reality.” It doesn’t always happen immediately; it can be a day, a week, a month, or longer, but when it does happen, it can be brutal.
Old habits have a way of inconveniently resurfacing, and life in general seems to attack you harder than it ever did before. You find yourself in a place where God doesn’t seem to show up on your radar as much. You find yourself asking questions like “how did I get here” and “how do I get back.”
I found myself there not too long ago and it was exhausting. I was in a spiritual stupor I couldn’t shake. I tried to keep to spiritual disciplines, but I had no real desire to worship or pray, and I didn’t really want to read my Bible. Everything felt forced, like it was only perpetuating my misery. Ironically, nothing felt genuine until those disciplines started to fall away.
After a lot of frustration, I was finally made aware of the unhealthy habit that was keeping me from ever having growth that was sustainable.
I was chasing spiritual highs instead of chasing relationship with God. I was only keeping up spiritual habits as a way to feel good, not as a way to find God. You see, if we aren’t careful, we can associate mountain top experiences and spiritual highs as exclusive builders of relationship and intimacy with God. That simply isn’t reality. I finally remembered that mountain top experiences don’t sustain me, God does.
Don’t get me wrong, mountain top experiences and victories are great at building hope and give opportunity to grow in intimacy with God, but mountain top moments alone, without growth of intimacy, don’t keep our circumstances from feeling bigger than God. While we can gain encouragement from past mountain top experiences, if we are only jumping from top to top, we aren’t thriving, we’re just surviving.
Let’s look at the Israelites in the book of Exodus. The Lord saves them from slavery… The Lord saves them from the Egyptians as they cross the Red Sea… The Lord provides water and food miraculously in the desert… The Lord saves them from the Amalekites…
Every single time, God moves exactly at the right moment, yet the Israelites continue to doubt God just about every time. If you’re like me, I find myself asking how Israel could doubt God when He literally moved the seas for them. It seems crazy, but remember, circumstances will always overtake you if you don’t have relationship with the one who triumphs over hardships.
We aren’t as different from Israel as we would like to think. Sometimes we know God as provider, healer, and friend in theory, and we know all the right things to say, but trials are the true test of relationship and often we prove lacking. We can know God as good when life is good, but knowledge alone is not enough to get us through the valleys without intimacy with God.
There are two other people we can look at in Exodus: Moses and Joshua. They were different not because they were super special, but because they operated out of a place of relationship. When trials and hardships came their way, they remained immovable because they were constantly talking with God. They knew who and where He was because they spent regular time with Him. Regular communion with God produces steadfastness.
If you’re stuck, intimacy with the Father may not seem like the “fix-all” answer for you, but I promise it’s the best start. It’s simple:
- Change your perspective about mountaintop experiences
- Build a relationship of intimacy with God that sustains you in the valleys
How do you build intimacy? Spend time with God. Even when you don’t want to, read His word, speak with Him, and praise Him. This is a relationship after all, and the only way to build intimacy in relationships is through intentionality and time. This may seem tedious, but God proves faithful to meet your seeking every single time.
Mountain tops aren’t really producers of sustaining growth, but they are a good place to get to know God. They can guide success if you use their momentum as a catalyst for building genuine relationship with God. Genuine relationship with God sustains me during times when the circumstances of life overwhelm.
The beauty of this relationship is that I know when my life feels like it’s falling apart, I can come to God with my doubts and fears. Relationship is knowing His character well enough to know He isn’t distant. Relationship helps me know where He is and recognize Him at work during the hard times.
In the middle of being stuck, remember God has not abandoned you, He isn’t mad at you, and His love for you was never in doubt. The Bible says “Abide in me as I in you” – John 15:5. The definition of “abide” is literally “to continue without fading.” Don’t lose hope. Don’t fade away from Him because He hasn’t faded from you or lost hope in you. It’s okay to hope in Him again. “Hope placed in Him is not wasted” -Romans 5:5 Don’t stop seeking, and don’t give up.
By: Jamie Vallejo