Many of us have had mountaintop experiences at some point in the course of our faith journeys. I have memories of magical times in my youth and in adulthood when my spiritual life was brightly lit for a measured amount of time. I also remember waking up some morning several weeks later and realizing with great disappointment that the magical excitement had faded.
Sometimes a mountaintop experience is that life-changing moment when a nonbeliever professes to become a Christian. At other times it might come at times of spiritual renewal, such as at retreats or other types of encounters. In every case we find ourselves flooded with excitement and spiritual awareness.
Mountaintop experiences cannot be sustained indefinitely. There is an inevitable “return to reality” as we return to the grind and the challenges of daily living.
These encounters are wonderful opportunities for renewal of our souls. We can receive from them boosts of spirit-filled energy that can carry us days, weeks, and sometimes months beyond the event. We feel good about our faith. We have a heightened sense of awareness of God’s presence in our lives. These experiences can make us better Christians.
Accepting the gift of God’s grace is easy, and it feels great. What’s not to love about that? The challenge is to incorporate the flash of these emotional encounters into our spiritual growth in a meaningful way. Just as a fire will burn out if left unattended, so can one’s spiritual faith become a heap of ashes.
We must go home prepared to work hard to stoke and nourish the new fire within us. Read the Bible, have a daily prayer life, attend church, serve others.
The emotion of the mountaintop experience cannot be sustained. Progressing in our faith walks can be sustained, but it will always take work and discipline.
"Discovery Weekend (The Upper Room spiritual formation weekend experience for middle schoolers) is a breath of fresh air for the youth ministry in local churches. I was impressed with the way it invited both spiritual maturity and committed leadership from our older youth as they served. Of course, our younger youth received so much as well." Read more about Discovery.