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,, and He can be emailed at

Eric Youngblood: Am I Good Enough To Be Happy?

I’m not sure I’m good enough to be happy. This revelation has occasionally popped up like an untimely pimple. A frightening glance in the mirror reveals that the lion-share of the thieves of my contentment are due to deficits in me. Not that God will make happiness envelop me like a warm, goose-down, winter parka if I can simply muster enough goodness, as if happiness ... (click for more)

4th Annual Keyboards At Christmas Offered At Brainerd Baptist Church

The fourth annual Keyboards At Christmas will be offered on  Dec. 12, at 3 p.m.  and  Dec. 13, at 5 p.m. at the  Brainerd Baptist Church sanctuary. Using six grand pianos, a pipe organ, and more than a  dozen pianists, Keyboards at Christmas is a celebration  of the birth of Christ featuring traditional sacred Christmas  ... (click for more)

Shots Fired From Vehicle; Police Locate Car And Arrest 5 Youths With Guns

Chattanooga Police said shots were fired from a vehicle on Friday afternoon, then officers located the vehicle and arrested five youths with guns.   That comes after a spate of shooting violence in which two women were killed and several other people injured by bullets.   Just after 4 p.m. Friday,  officers with the Chattanooga Police Department responded ... (click for more)

City Considering Measure That Would Require City Employees To Be Tennessee Residents

The City Council is considering an ordinance that would require city employees to be residents of the state of Tennessee. The city has employees who live in North Georgia and North Alabama and that is allowed.  If the ordinance is approved by the City Council, it still would need to be okayed by a majority of city voters in an election. The measure will be considered ... (click for more)

An Extra Helping Of Gratitude

After being thankful for the grace of God, my family and good health, this year I have an extra helping of gratitude to live in a special place called Chattanooga.   We endured the trauma of terrorism on July 16 and emerged more united and stronger than ever before.  We claim our heritage and celebrate our diversity like no other city in America.  We honor our ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: We Can’t ‘Ban The Box’

I know a man who has over 20 former convicts from federal prisons who either work for him or who have retired with their dignity, pride, and self-worth restored. Better yet, I know some of them, men who have done “hard time” in prisons so wretched none of us would dare to go. So on the surface I applaud City Councilman Yusef Hakeem for seeing ways to get formerly incarcerated men ... (click for more)