Don’t you wish it were possible to bottle up memories? To preserve them in a jar that you could open up any time in order to relive the joy of precious moments?
My past few weeks have been filled with memories I wish would linger longer so I could savour more. My husband and I and our two kids traveled to the States for 2 weeks and joined in 3 family birthday celebrations and my brother’s wedding. I only get to see my parents and siblings about every 1 1/2 years, so the days were intense and amazing. Such special occasions, such wonderful people, such a precious time. Then all of a sudden, two plane rides and 24 hours later, we are all separated by an ocean and spread out in 3 different countries again.
It was one of those emotional “mountain top experiences” and I have to admit that being home feels a little bit like the valley. “Alltag“, as the Germans say (meaning “everyday life”), has a beauty of its own, but if I could remain in the highlights of the past 2 weeks I would. Family meals, cousins playing together, shopping trips with my mom and sisters, sleeping in, road trips together, having a dozen extra hands to help with the kids.
But alas, we’re back at home and my hubby is working again and there are floors to clean and groceries to buy and bills to be paid. Though my flesh doesn’t like to admit it, my heart knows that I am not meant to live on the mountain top.
Those unique times when I feel “on top of the world” are a gift from God, but my whole life can’t be lived up there.
I am reminded of Jesus’ own mountain top experience that three of His disciples got to be part of.
Jesus took Peter, John and James with him and went up onto a mountain to pray. As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning. Two men, Moses and Elijah, appeared in glorious splendor, talking with Jesus….Peter and his companions were very sleepy, but when they became fully awake, they saw his glory and the two men standing with him. (Luke 9:28-32)
These 3 men had already experienced a lot with Jesus, but witnessing Him being transfigured before their eyes must have been beyond anything they could describe.
As soon as this manifested glory began to fade, though, and Moses and Elijah were leaving, Peter jumped up with one of his practical suggestions.
“Master, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” (v. 33)
I can’t blame the guy. He didn’t want the experience to end, so he tried finding a way to prolong it. “It’s great that we’re here to be a part of this; whatever is going on is amazing! Let’s stay on top of this mountain forever!”
How many times has my heart had that same ache? To live in the glory of an amazing moment and not want it to end?
There’s nothing really wrong with that. But interestingly, Jesus had other plans…
The next day, when they came down from the mountain, a large crowd met him. 38 A man in the crowd called out, “Teacher, I beg you to look at my son, for he is my only child. 39 A spirit seizes him and he suddenly screams; it throws him into convulsions so that he foams at the mouth. It scarcely ever leaves him and is destroying him….
Even while the boy was coming, the demon threw him to the ground in a convulsion. But Jesus rebuked the impure spirit, healed the boy and gave him back to his father. 43 And they were all amazed at the greatness of God.
As I read this passage the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart and said:
“The mountain-top experience is for you, but there are miracles waiting to happen at the bottom.”
I would have loved to prolong the time with my family, make it last longer so I could get more out of it. But that’s just it, it would have been great – for me. But I know that there are people waiting “at the bottom of the mountain” and God wants to use me to bring healing and freedom to them.
Emotional and spiritual highlights are necessary refreshment for our souls, but we always need to go back to our Alltag in order to serve those around us. It is when we come down from the mountain that others can “be amazed at the greatness of God.”
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