Monday, July 31, 2017

Return from the Mountaintop

I remember helping plan my Junior/Senior Prom in high school. Our team worked so hard on prom for months that when it was over, I cried for days. I had poured so much energy into prom for so long that I didn’t know what to do when it was all over. I couldn’t figure out what was wrong, but my mom explained to me that sometimes after a really good, fun season, it’s hard to come back down to real life again. It didn’t take me long to realize that this wouldn’t be the last time I’d feel this way.

When we’ve experienced a mountaintop season of life, it’s hard to imagine life any other way. Youth camp was always like that for me. I would come home from camp so excited about what God was doing in my life and the lives of my friends, only to realize that everything was the same at home. It was easy to slip back into old patterns that I’d just laid down at the altar during camp because I had returned from the mountaintop.

Sometimes our inclination is to say, “If things could only stay just like they are a little bit longer…” but it’s just not possible. The mountaintop isn’t a place for us to live, but it’s a place of preparation for whatever is to come. It’s easy in the mountaintop seasons to forget to point all of the glory back to God because things are going well.

I had coffee with a friend last night and was catching her up on what a good, sweet season of life this year has been. She asked me, “Are you a little bit ‘glass half empty’ like me, and you’re waiting for something hard to come?” My answer was yes. I hope that it’s life experience rather than pessimism speaking, but I know that good, sweet seasons come and go. Life is filled with experiences that are both good and hard, and we’re always caught somewhere in the ebb and flow of it all.

I think back to Genesis 22 when Abraham took Isaac up on the mountain to sacrifice him in obedience to what God asked him to do. Abraham didn’t think he would come back down the other side of the mountain with his son, but by the grace of God, he did. Isaac’s life was spared, but only because of Abraham’s obedience. Abraham walked down from that hard mountaintop experience changed because of what happened in that place.

The redemptive nature of God is our hope. When it feels like the bottom has fallen out (again), He is there to sustain us. I don’t know that we’ll ever understand the full picture because we’re not supposed to understand it. There are parts of my story that I pray God will use and redeem, and I have to trust that He’s doing His good work in and through those things whether or not I ever see the result. As we’re coming back down the mountain, we have to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus so we don’t stumble.

When we look at our lives and what God has asked of us, are we walking in full obedience?

Are we trying to hang on to the mountaintop because we’re scared to go back down to what might be waiting for us?

Are we letting ourselves be armed with truth while we’re on the mountaintop so that we’re prepared for whatever may come?

Maybe today you’re on the mountaintop wrapping up a great summer, or maybe you find yourself in the deepest valley you’ve ever been in. Wherever you are, cling to the Word of God—it truly is our lifeline. Know that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Heb. 13:8). God hasn’t changed, but when we change, He is the steadying force in our lives.

Mary Margaret Collingsworth serves as an Event Project Coordinator at LifeWay Christian Resources and coordinates training events for women in leadership. She has a passion to see women engaged in ministry and living out their calling. Mary Margaret loves teaching God’s Word, eating Mexican food, calling Nashville home, and hosting LifeWay Women’s {MARKED} podcast. Follow her on Twitter: @marymargaretc.

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