I’ve had more than one Bible scholar tell me that, in the Bible a mountain top moment means an encounter with God. Often God is visibly seen and heard in Old Testament accounts of these experiences. In the New Testament Jesus, the Second Person of the Trinity, is also often described as being on top of a mountain. Whether it is for His followers to listen to Him or for Him to speak to His Heavenly Father, up the mountain we are led, literally in Scripture and metaphorically in our own understanding and in our hearts.
And so I think we are meant to emulate these encounters in our own lives. How? Well, we can’t always find a mountain, sadly. But we can always encounter the Lord if we seek Him. That’s prayer – communicating with God either silently and by ourselves (like Jesus when He goes away to talk to His Dad) or with a group as when we go to Sunday Mass or a prayer service (like the followers who listen in rapt attention to Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount). Those can be our mountain top moments.
But I will argue that some of our deepest and most profound encounters with our Creator, the One who loved us into being and beholds us every minute of our life, are when we are down deep in the darkest, lowest valleys. I know it’s true for me. When we are down in the valley of the shadow of death, all distractions disappear. When we are in the valleys we find we are longing for God in a way we never could have imagined when life was good and sunny and warm on a beautiful mountain top.
God is always calling us to Himself, but the noise of the world, and all its colors and smells, all of the things we become attached to in our own narrow view of things, keep us from hearing God’s voice.
It’s a still small voice. God is gentle, Jesus tells us He is humble of heart. There is an expectation that the yearning we have within us for God, an emptiness that can only be filled by God, will cause us to “perk up our ears,” spiritually speaking, to hear the Lord calling us. And then we can respond and join in conversation with Him. We can commune with our Creator. And sometimes, sometimes the only way for God to get our attention is to bring us down to the valley, or at least allow us to wander off and find ourselves there. It’s quiet there, it’s dark. We can detach from the concerns of the world in the valley.
Listen when find yourself there. Listen and expect. Expect to hear His voice, to know His mercy and love. Accept God’s grace that is always searching for you. God is just waiting for you to open up and let His grace in. Grace is a participation in the life of God. God is perfect, God is love, God is good. Who wouldn’t want those things, to be an active participant in them with Him? The other thing about God is, He wants our participation in this life! He is inviting us to participate. Not because He needs us, but because He knows how much we need Him to truly be happy. We won’t find that happiness anywhere else.
Give it a try. Even if you are neither in the valley right now nor on the mountain top. But just know that those moments of real communion with our God are all fruitful, they are all actually mountain top moments in the Scriptural sense. God wants our participation, cooperation, communication. He doesn’t need any of it. He wants it out of the unfathomable love He has for each one.
So go ahead and make some space in your life for a mountain top moment, make for yourself a quiet place with no distractions, detach from all your cares and concerns. Just listen for the Voice. God will speak to your heart. Ask Him in. No cause for apprehension when Love is waiting to enter in.