"You bring me up here on the mountain For me to rest and learn and grow I see the truth up on the mountain And I carry it to the world far below So as I go down to the valley Knowing that You will go with me This is my prayer, Lord, help me to remember what You showed me Up on the mountain"
"The Mountain" by Steven Curtis Chapman
Years ago I was at one of my annual retreats out in Omaha, Nebraska, and it was getting to the end of the week, which meant that we'd be packing our bags and heading home soon. I'm pretty sure I speak for everyone who has gone to such an event when I say that this is the time most retreat attendees begin that rising lament of "O Lord, don't send me back into the valley. I want to stay here with You forever...."
This time was no exception. It was late afternoon on the second to last day and I knew that tomorrow was it. Tomorrow we would say our 'good-byes' to the amazing new soulmates we had met during the week, and be called out of that wonderful wading pool of amazing grace imbued with consolation. Tomorrow we needed to don the combat gear and head home.
I remember exactly where I was in the halls of the conference center when I began complaining to the Lord about having to leave. I remember feeling quite sorry for myself and wondering if the Lord realized how hard it is out there in the real world.... when suddenly I heard His most tender but authoritative Voice within me say, "Beloved, your sanctification does not come on the mountaintop."
Here was the glorious Wisdom I needed to hear. Here was the answer that refueled the zeal within me, bringing my whining to a halt and reminding me that He is just as close, just as loving, just as much my Savior when I am in the valley as when I am with Him on the mountain. The glorious grace of these visits to His mountain are meant to give me rest and till the soil for deeper teachings. They are necessary respites for me to remember Jesus' embrace and allow Him to rekindle the fire within me.
It is the valley, however, that contains every ingredient for conflict and battle. Here I am tested and purified. Here I am asked to carry my own cross in God's perfect plan for the salvation of all. It is here that I become a Saint.
While it is extremely important for us to find those quiet times alone with the Lord, (an annual retreat is a true gift), it is also possible to 'visit the mountain top' within our day to day lives. Our Father opens those options up for us even in the busiest of lives, knowing how vital our refueling and resting in Him really is to our spiritual growth. Going even one day without allowing Him to embrace us for a short time in the silence will make all of the difference between a peaceful day - even in the midst of craziness - or a day of mayhem.
And so, my beloved brothers and sisters in Christ, I offer you another precious journal entry. This one comes from another prayer warrior who was journaling in the silence a few weeks ago, and the Lord came to her so tenderly...
I received this in prayer in front of Blessed Sacrament this past Saturday. This is what I heard:
"I want you to rest in Me. Your anxieties have risen with the world and it's demons. You must spend time with Me to be prepared for your daily battles. I know, My child, the forces that are against you. Keep strong, rest and be refreshed, My little one. I am with you always.
Your big brother, Jesus."
"Soak me in." _______________________________________________________________
Come then, you who are weary and heavy laden. Come to the One who is dying to hold you so tenderly for this brief moment of quiet time. Let Him take every anxiety and fear, every trial of your day with each sorrow, and place them in His beautiful heart. Let Him whisper to your soul how much He so deeply, dearly loves you.