Luke 6:10-12 (NLT) 10 He looked around at them one by one and then said to the man, “Hold out your hand.” So the man held out his hand, and it was restored! 11 At this, the enemies of Jesus were wild with rage and began to discuss what to do with him.12 One day soon afterward Jesus went up on a mountain to pray, and he prayed to God all night.
These Chills Are Multiplying
I remember I was sweating, my knees were weak, and I was terrified as one of my friends was pulling on my arm saying “Come on Hank, it’s awesome!” I had always thought of myself as a brave kid, but here I was on top of a mountain, showing that I was all talk and no action. You see I grew up in East Tennessee, surrounded by hills and mountains, in fact my family and I would vacation frequently in Gatlinburg, TN which had the most breath taking views of the Smoky Mountains. We would travel the mountains and climb forever and ever into the sky in our silver Buick Regal. The climb was uncomfortable and it took what felt like forever to reach the top. Once we reached the top I was unable to look over the edge and see where we had just come from, I was terrified and I would think to myself “What if I fall?” and “What if they pull me so hard I fall?” I was so afraid of falling to the point I was missing the best part of the journey, the view.
Ain’t No Mountain High… Ain’t No Valley Low
For many of us, looking back on the past is painful. I’ve heard it said that we should leave the past in the past, and never look back. I absolutely agree with that to a point. My thought is, never look back when your pulling yourself out of the valley. When you begin to climb the mountain, looking back will only cause distractions. The valley has been used as an analogy for describing the dark times in a person’s life, whereas the mountain top has been described as the pinnacle, the goal that we are striving for. For many of us we are still reaching for that mountain top experience.
What Jesus Teaches Us
As I study the scripture in Luke 6 I see Jesus who has done the impossible, he has just healed a man’s hand, completely restored! Those who hated Jesus only became more angry at him and began to plot how they might get rid of him. I could only imagine how I would feel if I were Jesus at this moment. I would be confused because I have just done this great thing, I’ve shown compassion to this crippled man, and most of all I’ve been used by God! Yet, they want to kill me! I believe that Jesus thought on this for a while, just like I would have, and yet his reaction is what ours should be. Jesus went up on a mountain and prayed to God all night.
Have you ever been in the valley, upset, disappointed, confused, and needing answers? I have! Being in the valley is a terrible experience, yet I have found myself here so often, and I have to ask why this that? The smart alec in me wants to say, “It’s because your from Rockwood!” which is located in the valley of East Tennessee, surrounded by mountains. As a kid I learned a valuable lesson. If you want to get out of the valley, then climb a mountain. Climbing won’t be easy, it can be painful, and it can take time, but with focus and determination you will reach the top. As Jesus climbed the mountain, and walked it’s trails, he was focused on God alone. The Lord shows us that when the enemy comes against us, climb a mountain, get away from the chaos, be alone where it’s just you and God, and once you reach the pinnacle you’ll be able to see things more clearly. You can look over the valley and say “with the help of God I overcame all of this.” Once Jesus left the mountain with God he was focused on one task, and that was task was to pull others out of their valley’s. What’s neat is Luke tells us in his gospel that Jesus started with twelve ordinary men, who would turn the world upside down. (Luke 6:13-16)
I encourage you today by saying this, if you find yourself in the valley, make up in your mind now that you’re going to get away with God. It’s not going to be some patty cake prayer that gets you out, but hard work, determination, focus, and time with God in prayer. Once you’ve reached the pinnacle with God, you can overlook the valley with a new perspective, with a sense of victory. I encourage everyone to have a “mountain top” mentality, but be sure to bring someone with you. That’s how we make disciples for the kingdom.
17 When they came down from the mountain, the disciples stood with Jesus on a large, level area, surrounded by many of his followers and by the crowds. There were people from all over Judea and from Jerusalem and from as far north as the seacoasts of Tyre and Sidon. Luke 6:17
By the way, I finally gave in and looked over the edge. Sure I was scared, but it didn’t last long because now I had a feeling of victory. Wow what a view!