Monday, September 30, 2013

Life in the Valley

He that is down needs fear no fall,
   He that is low, no pride;
He that is humble ever shall
   Have God to be his guide.

--From John Bunyan’s, The Valley of Humiliation

You see the vision. You hear the call. Like Christ’s disciples, you’re up on the mountaintop, seeing Him in all of His transcendent glory and power. “This is it. It’s show time. Raise the banners and blow the trumpets!” And the next thing you know, you are down in what Bunyan called the Valley of Humiliation, singing with BB King, “The Thrill is Gone.” What’s up with that?

“What’s up” is reality. Mountaintop experiences give us a boost, the fuel we need for living down in The Valley where real people are living real lives. The mountain is where we see the vision and hear the call.  The Valley is where we discover the true meaning of the vision and the path to its fulfillment.

It’s easy to live for God’s honor up on the mountain. Well, I say “for God” but come on, it’s partially The Thrill isn’t it: the adrenalin rush that comes with finally seeing and hearing what we have been questing for? The question, however, is this: can we take this “for God” down the mountain and into our daily lives where work needs to get done and where people are not interested in hearing how things are up on the mountain but in what we can do for them, today?

On the mountain you saw that God was God, and that all power in heaven and on earth was His. You saw it. You breathed it. It flooded over you with such a sense of certainty that you knew you would never doubt Him again. As for the vision, you knew-that-you-knew, “This is what I am here for. This is my reason for being in the world. I am going to move mountains with my faith!” But before you can even say, Eureka, you are in The Valley of Humiliation wondering where in the world is God.

Where is the power and glory I experienced?
Where’s the thrill, the nuclear powered faith?

And then comes the temptation to doubt, then to become a skeptic, and then a cynic.

Did I really see and hear God or was it a figment of my imagination?
Does He even care about what’s going on in The Valley?

The Valley is where the true nature of my faith in God and commitment to my vision is tested. How much am I willing to sacrifice for God’s sake, for the sake of realizing my vision, for the sake of loving others as I love myself? How long do I hold on to the promises of God while it feels like He is nowhere to be found?

The Valley is also where I meet two of the greatest enemies I will ever face in this lifetime: The Accuser and Myself.

Next Post: Turning Humiliation Into Humility

Copyright, Monte E Wilson, 2013

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