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.



Bob Tamasy: Accentuate The Positive?

From time to time we’re treated to new renditions of old favorite songs. I remember when Faith Hill, then a rising star in the country-western world, recorded a twangy version of Janis Joplin’s classic, “Piece of My Heart.” Barbra Streisand has just released a new album – yep, she can still sing – in which she does duets with popular male singers. For one of the songs, “Love Me ... (click for more)

First Christian Church Choir Presents “Festival Of Carols”

Following the lighting of the third Advent candle on Sunday, the choir of First Christian Church will present its annual Choir Cantata. Worship begins at 10:45 a.m. and all are welcome to come and enjoy this special Christmas music during worship hour. Featured songs from Joseph Martin’s Festival of Carols include Christmas Processional, Father's Love A Perfect Rose, O Come ... (click for more)

2 Suspects Sought In Armed Robbery At Highway 153 Long John Silver's

Police are searching for two suspects in an armed robbery that happened Friday morning. At approximately  8:10  a.m. the Chattanooga Police Department responded to 5317 Highway 153 for a robbery at the Long John Silver's.  Officers discovered that two black men, wearing hoodies and masks, entered the Long John Silver's and forced the assistant manager ... (click for more)

Fire Causes $30,000 In Damages At Scenic City Concrete

Chattanooga firefighters responded to a reported structure fire shortly after  10 p.m. Thursday  at Scenic City Concrete Pumping, at 2903 South Orchard Knob Ave. Captain Donny McMillian with Engine 9 said smoke was visible when the first firefighters arrived. Captain McMillian said the firefighters had to force their way through a locked gate and into the building, ... (click for more)

Please Don't Close The Piccadilly Cafeteria At Hamilton Place - And Response

Oh, no. The Piccadilly Cafeteria at Hamilton Place is closing.  Its last day is Christmas Eve.  I will miss the great food they have there but most of all I will miss their servers, cashiers and waitresses.  They are all so friendly and accommodating.  They make it like it’s a home-style restaurant. I sure wish there was some way that Hamilton Place and ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: God Bless Cathy & Co.

The secret to the whole thing is not getting caught but somebody at the Toys R Us store in Framingham, Mass., had a camera when Cathy O’Grady was very quietly paying off all the layaway balances at the popular location last week. The picture snaked its way onto social media sites and her friends quickly recognized the area’s most famous “layaway angel.” Then somebody in nearby ... (click for more)