Mountain Top Experiences
by Barri Cae Mallin

The celebration for Shavuot (Feast of Weeks) and Pentecost is this weekend. Many believers do not realize that these holidays are the same. All the Jews were gathered at the foot of Mount Sinai when Moses received the Ten Commandments (Ex.19); Jews were gathered at Mount Zion in Jerusalem as the Holy Spirit descended, was poured out upon the apostles and ignited the believers there. This was the same holiday. For further reading, note Ex:23:15; Lev. 23:15-21;Deut:16:9.

I love mountain-top experiences! I can remember all the different mountains that I have visited (being raised in Kansas makes you LOVE mountains). These mountain-top visits have literally been the highlights of my life. The beauty, the vistas, just to breathe in the crisp air, to look down elevates your entire being.

But life is really lived in the valleys, in the trenches. Before I was a believer, valley experiences drew me into worse living. If I encountered bad in my life, somehow I made it worse, either by over-spending, over-eating or over-partying. I never knew the extent of my sin-sickness.

But an encounter with Jesus - Yeshua changed all of that. When sin-sickness was the order of the day, new excitement for living gave me hope, something that had alluded me prior to knowing Messiah Jesus. But may I be honest? There are still many valley days, valley weeks, valley months and valley years. I can turn on the TV and see a 'successful preacher' and wonder if they ever have bad days, weeks, months, years. But rarely do I hear about those. I only hear success stories from them (for the most part).

But being transparent is what God calls me to be. It is in the low places, in the places of my personal humiliation that I feel Yeshua Jesus the most. He does for me in my weakness that which I could never do for myself. This is the fellowship of His sufferings. When I am blamed for something that I did not cause, and I remain silent and cling to Him, I sense Him, I sense His embrace. Yeshua Jesus is right in those places of surrender, of sacrifice, of humiliation, of pain, of despondency, of confusion. It is when my heart mourns for lost loves, lost experiences, lost youth, that He is with me. It is in these times of pain that I sense His love, this Bridegroom love. For I have no worthiness apart from Him, I know this. And when I sense His presence in my lowliness, that is ultimate love. He knows the depths of my pain, as He endured far worse, He suffered for me. Love's glory shines in the deepest times of suffering. Jesus Yeshua's path was the path of suffering. Oh yes, He was on mountain-tops, but only briefly. He ministered in the valleys.

Maybe all is well with you, and has been. Then ignore this little missive. But for those who hurt, for those who feel as though God has somehow put you on the back burner, know that He is right there, that He loves you deepest. His love union with you is the closest.

He ministers in your valleys. Our union with Him deepens if we do not flee from the painful places that He leads us. May we embrace those places, knowing that the deepest love of our Beloved is experienced there.

©2003 Barricae Mallin. All rights reserved.

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