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.



Middle Valley Church Of God Holds Resurrection Celebration Sunday

Middle Valley Church of God, located at 1703 Thrasher Pike in Hixson, announces that Pastor Mitch McClure will speak on the topic, "Everything Is Going To Be Alright" in the  10:30 a.m.  service this  Sunday,  as part of the church Resurrection Celebration.  This sermon is part of a special series of sermons based on the need for the church ... (click for more)

Bob Tamasy: What's In A Name?

The other day I was reading an article that said biblical names are declining in popularity. Aha. That’s why I haven’t heard of any babies lately being named Mephibosheth, Absalom, Hophni, Jereboam or Eliphelet! And given the ruthless reputation of Queen Jezebel (1 Kings 18-21), it’s no wonder that’s not a name of choice in maternity wards around the nation. Who would want their ... (click for more)

Tennessee Broadband Expansion Bill Sought By EPB Put On Hold For Now

Advocates for broadband expansion in Tennessee, including Chattanooga's EPB, announced Tuesday that efforts to extend community-based fiber optic networks are being placed on hold for now "because there is not enough support among state lawmakers to change a state regulation that prevents the expansion of municipal fiber optic systems." EPB earlier won a ruling from the Federal ... (click for more)

Haslam Adds K-12 Funds In Budget Amendment

Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam on Tuesday unveiled additions to the FY 2015-2016 budget that will be considered by the General Assembly in the coming weeks, including added funding for K-12. The governor last week met with school superintendents from the largest systems in the state over the issue of state funding for K-12. The next day, the Hamilton County Schools joined ... (click for more)

Physicians Thank Their Patients On Doctor’s Day

March 30 has been set aside as National Doctors’ Day since 1933 as a time to recognize the contributions made by our physicians. While the recognition is appreciated, our greatest satisfaction comes from caring for our patients.  For 132 years, the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Medical Society has been the physicians’ voice as we worked together to improve health of our community. ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Look At My April Garden

On this April Fool’s Day, as I take my monthly stroll through my virtual garden, there are gorgeous flowers and there are weeds, which appear to be trying harder than the flowers. So let’s see what we find before searching for “The Prize Egg” on Sunday. A FLOWER to the New York cab driver who told a young writer, “Always remember that everyone you meet knows something that you ... (click for more)