Thanks to a good friend in our church, I recently had the privilege of flying over our beautiful Cabinet Wilderness Mountains. Our family has put in many days hiking and camping in this area over the years and it was quite a thrill to view it all from above–in just over an hour! What a different perspective it gives you to get the view from above. When I think of the effort and time it takes to hike in to just one of the many lakes in the Cabinets, and then to fly over that drainage and lake in under a minute’s time. Wow!
This summer we also had the opportunity to hike to one of the area peaks and the view was spectacular, as we could see a great distance into Idaho and into Canada to the Canadian Rockies, as well as a viewing of our own
Cabinet Mountains. As we are hiking up the valley we are focused just on the trail and the small area around us, but when we get to the top, we get a sense of the vastness of the creation around us.
And then I think of the handful of privileged folks who have gone into space and get a view back at our earth and a view of our little piece of the Milky Way Galaxy, which itself is just one minute section of the universe that God created, my mind just is overwhelmed.
But, in each case, we have to come back down. After just over an hour in the air we landed again at the local airport. After having lunch on the mountain top and enjoying the view briefly, we had to make our way back
down the trail and to our vehicle for the drive home. After their brief time in space the astronauts have returned to earth to the mundane, routine, every-day battles of life here.
It is so great to have those opportunities to get the “view from above” but those are rare times, the exceptions. Our life is primarily lived here in the valleys of the ordinary challenges of our circumstances and life in a world that is under the curse of sin. It would be nice to just stay up there and “enjoy the view,” and one day we will be able to, but for now, we have to realize that we have work to do here “in the valley.”
I’m reminded of when Peter, James and John had the amazing experience with Jesus recorded in Matthew 17, where it says: “And six days later, Jesus took with Him Peter and James and John…and He was transfigured before them, and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as light. And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him” (vv. 1-3). This was probably the “goodly mountain” that Moses referred to in Dt. 3:25 (KJV) that he wanted to cross over the Jordan to see firsthand, most likely the 9200 ft., snow capped, Mt. Hermon. God took Moses up onto Mt. Pisgah so he could see into the land (Dt. 34:1), but then, because of Moses’ disobedience and anger problem, he wasn’t allowed to enter the Promised Land. He died in the land of Moab. But then, in a marvelous, mysterious way, Moses finally did stand on Mt. Hermon, along with Elijah, and Peter, James and John, AND JESUS!
What a unique privilege for Peter, James and John. They undoubtedly wanted to just stay there and have that moment last forever. In fact, Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if you wish, I will make three tabernacles here, one for You, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah” (Mt. 17:4). But just a few verses later it says, “as they were coming down from the mountain…” (v. 9). Their stay on the mountain was brief and they had to go back down to life in the valley. But, it was a picture of what will one day last forever, when Jesus comes to take us to heaven and we will be glorified so that we can see Him in all His glory, and life will never be the same again.
It’s great to occasionally get a “view from above” so that we get a bigger picture of what is really going on, but meanwhile, we need to continue being faithful as we live our lives out here in the valley, waiting for that day when “the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and thus we shall always be with the Lord” (I Thes. 4:16,17). As we await that “catching away” Jesus told us to “occupy till I come” (Lk. 19:13 KJV), i.e., we are to conduct business as usual until He returns, not go sit on a mountain and wait! We are to stay faithful to Him as we go about our ordinary, routine, every-day activities. If we get a mountain top experience or two along, praise God, but don’t live constantly looking for the spectacular. Be faithful in the little things of normal life in the valley. Have as your goal what the apostle Paul shared as his in Acts 20:24: “But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, in order that I may finish my course, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God.” And, as he wrote in his letter to the Colossians, “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father” (Col. 3:17).
We may not understand how all the little pieces of our lives “in the valley” fit together, but one day, we will all get “the view from above” and see the big picture of how God is “Causing all things to work together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose” (Ro. 8:28).
From the Kootenai River Valley,