Standing there, looking out of the window of my room, my eyes trying to take in the scene that stood in front of me. As another fall breeze swept through and the changing leaves fell down below, I had to remind myself to breathe. I had to remind myself that, yes, I am in an ancient castle in the mountains of Alps and have had the “Sound of Music” soundtrack playing in my head since I stepped off the train. For the past week we took the students to the Bible College campus in Austria- which so happens to be in an ancient castle. This week, known as “Speakers Week”, was a time for all of us- students and staff- to get out of the routine for a bit. With no ipods, no computers, no Internet and just each other- we spent the week getting our focus back on Jesus and just relaxing out of our routine. The castle is gorgeous, peeking through the trees of a mountain and facing a lake with the Alps enclosing you in. It was a great week to really just sit back and listen. We were on top of the mountain- but you can’t stay on top of the mountain forever.
When we leave a certain time or event, usually we learn more from that experience once we look back. Once we are no longer in the midst of it and begin start to examine it from the outside in, then do we realize all that happened in that time. Once I came down from the mountain and we were heading back to Italy, I came to the realization of something: I like the mountain. I like the times when we are on top, when we are all taking in the moments of joy and the refreshing time with the Lord. Selfishly I like the moments where it is just me and God- and I can see things from the top of the mount and not be in the valley.
" We have all had times on the mount, when we have seen things from God's standpoint and have wanted to stay there; but God will never allow us to stay there. The test of our spiritual life is the power to descend; if we have the power to rise only, something is wrong. It is a great thing to be on the mount with God, but a man only gets there in order that afterwards he may get down among the devil-possessed and lift them. We are not built for the mountains and the dawns and aesthetic affinities, those are for moments of inspiration, that is all. We are built for the valley, for the ordinary stuff we are in, and that is where we have to prove our mettle. Spiritual selfishness always wants repeated moments on the mount. The mount is not meant to teach us anything, it is meant to make us something. The moments on the mountain tops are rare moments, and they are meant for something in God's purpose." Oswald Chambers
How humbling it is to realize that we weren’t made for the mount. We were made to for the valley. To be amongst the “devil-possessed and lift them up.” To the be light in the darkness and to bring glory to our God. We all long to be on the mount all the time, but when you really look at it, what greater joy is there than to know that you are doing what the Lord has asked of you. What greater fulfilment of Joy is there, knowing that you were used to help someone get on the mountain and catch their breath.
To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers. John 10:3-5
This valley girl longs to hear the voice of her Shepherd call her by name.