Bob Tamasy: Mountaintops...And Valleys

Sunday, October 20, 2013 - by Bob Tamasy
Bob Tamasy
Bob Tamasy

Have you ever had a “mountaintop experience,” an overwhelming, mind-consuming event that inspired, challenged or motivated you in ways you’d never imagined? Maybe it was in a college classroom, a business workshop, or a spiritual conference? Some truth you heard or strategy you gained that left you fired-up, believing life as you’d known it would never be the same?

Mountaintops – and the valleys lying below them: curious things.

Significant parts of my life have been spent in close proximity to mountains. In Germany, where I was born – my dad was in the U.S. Army, my mom had gone to be with him, and I wanted to be close to her at the time – my parents enjoyed the Wetterstein mountain range, featuring Zugspitze, the country’s highest peak, near the town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen.

There were no mountains in New Jersey where I grew up, or Ohio where I started my journalistic career. But in moving to Chattanooga, Tenn. we found ourselves living atop a hill and near Signal and Lookout mountains, as well as within easy driving distance to the Smoky Mountains and picturesque Asheville, N.C. My travels often took me to Colorado Springs and Denver, Colo., where the towering Rocky Mountains painted breath-taking vistas.

My greatest mountaintop experiences, however, weren’t all on real mountains. I attended conferences in various settings where I heard outstanding Bible teachers. Their depth of knowledge and practical understanding of how to relate biblical truth to everyday living helped me to grasp being a “Christian” should be 24/7, not limited to religious gatherings.

Traveling around the country to interview committed, mature followers of Jesus for magazine articles, it often seemed I was flying higher than the jet transporting me as I returned home. When in Isaiah 40:31 it speaks of “mounting up with wings like eagles,” that’s how I felt.

Time after time I’d attend an event, or meet inspiring people, that made me feel I could tackle the world. “You and me, God, we’re a team!”

Then, however, it would be time to leave the mountaintop – literal or figurative – and descend back into the valley. It’s interesting how the realities of everyday life – bills, home repairs, work deadlines, family issues – can spoil a good mood forged on a remote “mountaintop.” The “I can conquer anything” thrill soon fades while visiting the dentist or calling to get the car fixed.

That’s why I appreciate what Oswald Chambers said in his classic devotional book, My Utmost for His Highest:

“After every time of exaltation, we are brought down with a sudden rush into things as they really are, where it is neither beautiful, poetic, nor thrilling. The height of the mountaintop is measured by the dismal drudgery of the valley, but it is in the valley that we have to live for the glory of God…. Most of us can do things if we are always at some heroic level of intensity…God wants us to be at the drab everyday level, where we live in the valley according to our personal relationship with him.”

For the most part, all of life’s like that. The wedding is exciting, but then comes the marriage. Giving birth is thrilling, but then comes raising the child. Landing the big contract is exhilarating, but then comes serving the customer.

Maybe that’s why many people find the words of the so-called “shepherd’s psalm” so reassuring: “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you (God) are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me” (Psalm 23:4). This passage isn’t talking so much about physical death as it is the problems and struggles – even terrors – of everyday life. We can’t live forever on the mountaintop; we must descend into the demon-infested, trouble-filled valley. And it’s comforting to know we’re not alone, that God is there beside us, offering direction, provision and protection.

So enjoy the moments on the mountaintop and listen carefully to what God wants to teach you there. He’ll want you to put it into use when you’re back in the valley.

---


Robert J. Tamasy is a veteran journalist, a former newspaper editor and magazine editor. He is presently vice president of communications for Leaders Legacy, Inc., a non-profit focused on mentoring and coaching business and professional leaders. Bob has written hundreds of magazine articles, and has authored, co-authored and edited more than 15 books. These include “Tufting Legacies,” “The Heart of Mentoring,” “Business at Its Best,” and “Pursuing Life With a Shepherd’s Heart.” He edits a weekly business meditation, “Monday Manna,” which is translated into more than 20 languages and distributed via email around the world by CBMC International. He also posts regularly on two blogs, www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com, and www.bobtamasy.wordpress.com. He can be emailed at btamasy@comcast.net.



Rock Island Missionary Baptist Observes 14th Pastoral Anniversary This Weekend

Rock Island Missionary Baptist Church, located at 2106 Camden Street, in East Chattanooga will observe the 14th anniversary of their pastor, Ronald B. Cook, Sr. with the following guests and praise and worship services: Revival this  Thursday at 7 p.m.  Guests are Pastor Ezra Mayes and the Friendship Community Church. Revival this  Friday at 7 p.m. ... (click for more)

Ballet Magnificat! To Continue Fall U-Church Series

The professional Christian ballet company Ballet Magnificat! will continue Lee University’s U-Church series with a performance on Sunday, Oct. 26, at 7:30 p.m. in the Conn Center. Ballet Magnificat!, described as the premiere Christian dance company in the United States, was founded in 1986 and now performs over 200 times annually. Under the direction of executive director Keith ... (click for more)

Man Shot At Apartments On Tunnel Boulevard Wednesday Afternoon, Then 2 Juveniles Shot At Rec Center On Oakwood Drive With Suspects In Custody

Chattanooga police officers responded to the apartment buildings at 404 Tunnel Blvd. Wednesday at 1:21 p.m., where residents say they heard multiple shots fired.  Witnesses said they saw multiple suspects fleeing the scene on foot behind the complex.  The male victim was taken to a local hospital for life threatening gunshot wounds.  Later Wednesday, ... (click for more)

Several Arrested Outside Erlanger Hospital When Crowd Gathers After Woodlawn Shooting

Several people were arrested Monday night outside Erlanger Hospital after a crowd gathered and clashed with police. The crowd included family and friends of 20-year-old Apprentice Berry, who was shot multiple times and killed earlier Monday night at the Woodlawn Apartments on Wilson Street. Erlanger officials said the group gathered at the emergency room, but were later moved ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Has Lost Its Most Popular Citizen - Luther Masingill - And Response

Chattanooga has lost its most popular citizen – Luther Masingill. Although we are saddened we cherish the memories.  All of us have a Luther story.  Mine is the first time I met Luther.  This was before TV and all of Chattanooga listened to Luther on the radio.  I was 12-years-old.  Some of my buddies and I had gone to the State Theater in downtown ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Policeman’s Prayer

Every year, when the Law Enforcement Foundation of Greater Chattanooga holds its annual luncheon, it is one of the most heartening displays of what America really believes, down deep inside. The most prominent and influential leaders in the community – well over 1,000 -- gather to pay tribute and pledge their support to our heroes in blue who are unfaltering in their devotion, service ... (click for more)