And when they had come to the multitude, a man came to Him, kneeling down to Him and saying, “Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and suffers severely; for he often falls into the fire and often into the water. So I brought him to Your disciples, but they could not cure him.” Then Jesus answered and said, “O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him here to Me.” And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him; and the child was cured from that very hour. (Matthew 17:14-18 NKJV)
You can't be on the mountaintop all the time. Oh, it's wonderful when you are--the exhilaration of exceptional experience--one of those intimate encounters that gives you spiritual goosebumps. We want to just camp out there. Peter, James, and John had such a high. They had witnessed a scene that made them want to stay. Jesus shone brighter than the noonday sun. What He was on the inside was manifested on the outside. Moses and Elijah had shown up. No surprise Peter popped off, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, let us make here three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” (Matt.17:4) To which God said (and I paraphrase) "Peter hush! Listen to my Son!" Peter's focus had migrated from Jesus to His witnesses--from the glory of His majesty and to the emotion of the moment. We understand that don't we? Thank God for the mountaintop moments, but they will not last on earth. That awaits Eternity.
For the followers of Christ, there will be a lot of time spent in the valleys of life. That is the sovereign choice of God for His disciples. We must not resist it. We must enter it and learn. The mountaintops can teach us much, but lessons learned in the dark vales are vital also.
The valley is a place of pain. It is there we encounter a father's anguish over his son. That boy knew the torment from demonic assault. It is an accurate depiction of living in this fallen world. There is plenty of pain.
The valley is also a place of poverty. This dad was hopeful of deliverance and so brought his boy to the disciples--who miserably failed! Have you ever felt such hopelessness? The church often promises far more than it delivers. Admitting our own poverty is humbling--yet, preparatory for grace. Being driven to your knees is precisely where we find power. When the disciples later questioned Jesus as to why they had no authority, He responded that only fervent prayer can bring Kingdom authority into the valley of struggle.
So, ultimately, the valley is a place of provision. Desperation drove the man to Jesus--and Christ drove out the malignant spirit. We discover He is Lord of the valleys as well as the mountaintops, and that all is about His glory, and never our experience of it. Whether in the rarified air of His manifest Presence or in a demonic stronghold where we discover His power to bring peace, everything is wrapped up in Jesus. Is Jesus enough? Can we be content with only Him? Wherever you are--on mountaintop or valley--look, listen, learn and live for Him!