Last week, we enjoyed so much going to church with our kids who live here. Because I was fighting the flu, and didn’t know it, we drove on to church with me laying down in the seat with my feet on the dash of the car. If you read my previous blog, you will know that I was actually not just feeling weak from giving blood the day before, but was already experiencing flu symptoms. Randy kept asking me if I was sure I didn’t want to head to Urgent care but I told him to just drive in the direction of the church and I would let him know by the time we arrived if I needed to go to the doctor or if I was able to go to church. Thinking that surely the effects of donating blood would simply go away, I choose to drag myself into church. After all, getting to sing and hear God’s Word taught “should” energize me and help me forget how bad I felt. So in we go, all the while hoping that I would be able to stand to sing.
The preacher began to talk to us about living our Christian lives and how we seem to think that if we do everything “right” we would have more mountaintop experiences. As I sat there and listened to him speak, it became evident that he had a word that I needed to hear. The scripture reading was from Luke 4:30-44
“Once when he was in the synagogue a man possessed by a demon began shouting at Jesus, “go away, why are you bothering us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know you are are–the Holy One sent from God.”
The pastor brought up an interesting point that I had never thought about before. This man, who was possessed, was sitting right there in the pew, listening to Jesus preach. Were the other’s so use to this man being there every week that they never paid attention to him? Did they just think he was just a little weird? Did the others there that day think that he was just like they were? All scripture tells us is that there he was, sitting in church, listening but yet unwilling to surrender. The pastor began to talk about us as Christians, we think that the more “mountaintop experiences” we have, the holier we are. But is that what Christ is calling us to? Nothing more than people who live for those mountaintop experiences? No, we need the times in the valleys when we are reminded that Christ should be our hope, our peace and the one we strive to grow into His likeness. Mountaintops give us times when we experience times of refreshing and experiencing God’s faithfulness. We know that the prize of our salvation awaits us for all eternity. BUT..it is those times in the valleys which grows our faith and allows us to serve others while they are going through the storms and valleys of life. We are called to serve. We are not called to live on the mountaintops. We must come to the point in our lives as Christians that we seek out those who are struggling and come along beside them to show Christ’s love, compassion and giver of eternal life.
He ended the sermon with this thought:
Am I a friend to Jesus or a demon in the pew? Am I sitting here week after week, listening to Jesus Words, but not allowing Him to use me or surrender to what He has for me?
This week I have had more time than usual since I was quarantined for 3 days to think about that? Am I living for just those those wonderful mountain top times, not wanting to surrender to the valley times so that His light will shine thought me to others? Or am I sitting there, like a devil in the pew week after week?
Thank you Pastor Grosshans for a great reminder that God didn’t promise us a life of no valleys, but He did promise us that He would go with us through them.
The Christian life does have some mountaintop experiences. But we cannot stay there and just glance down to those in the valleys. We have to be down here with others, serving, loving and praying that God’s glory will be evident from our hearts to theirs.