You can not live there.
I love to worship God. I love to worship Him when it's just me (and my coffee)... I love to worship Him with friends... in corporate worship at church. (Yes, we also [can] worship God in our work, talents and giving [time and finances] and enjoy those times as well. But for the purpose of this blog, "worship" will be in reference to prayer, reflection and/or singing of praise to God.)
This past weekend I attended the Simply Worship conference in Lexington, MA. (www.simplyworshipconference.com) This conference is designed to encourage and refresh worship leaders and teams throughout New England. A one day conference to meet others- learn new skills or tricks of the trade- and to corporately worship the Almighty God without the pressure of key changes or "what's next" mentality. (That is, of course, unless you're on one of the leading teams, in that case... it becomes an exciting reality to think that every. person. in that room is there because they WANT to grow closer to the Lord!)
Okay, as I was saying.
After attending these conferences, my heart aches. No, my soul aches. Throughout the day, the prayer of "Even so, Come!" never ceases to come from lips. In the congregation I'm able to soak in the presence of God in a way in which is very rare in the other 364 days of the year. There is no "fighting tooth and nail" to get people to raise their hands to God or sing. In fact, as much as I love singing and leading others to praise God: I very rarely sing... I just sit or stand back and listen to the hundreds of voices around me... all expressing praise and adoration to the same God I love, know and am so thankful for. At about 5:30 pm on those Saturdays though, the reality of the real world kicks in....Of leading worship the next day....Of work and the exhaustion and stress it causes. The "where will the money for this months bills" kicks in. The loneliness kicks in.
This year (sickness aside) was no different. And as I have driven around the last few days while listening to the 10,000 Fathers (Aaron Keyes, Founder: they were at the conference as well) most recent album, "Invitation"... I'm tearing up, just asking God, "Why couldn't You have come back that day?" And today, today God whispered, "Because you were not made to live on the mountain tops."
In his book, "The Heavenly Man", Brother Yun answers the question, "If you could say one thing to Western Christians, what would you say?" He answers, "That you like to stay too long on your mountaintop experiences. But life can not be lived there.... It is in the valleys." Even now, think about what a mountaintop view brings you: breathtaking beauty of all that is around you. But look immediately around you: there is no life. No vegetation. The wind is often too strong - the air is often too cold and thin for life to exist. Now think of the valley: Luscious. Green. Life. Vegetation. Flowers.
Maybe we need to change our perspective of what valleys are. Valleys are where growth happen. Those daily moments with Him and His word. Those daily moments of praying without ceasing (1 Thess.5:17) when you forgot to put the water in for the coffee... when we're stuck in traffic (can I get an Amen from the Bostonians?)... when our kids (be it students or yours) are on our last nerve.
Maybe it's in those moments that He is closer to us than we think or feel- because we're not acknowledging that He's there. Maybe we don't see Him at work in us or around us because our eyes are focused on that school bell, that bill payment, that moment we put the kids to bed, that meeting that is giving us ulcers to think about, that moment that we can finally put our head on the pillow.
Maybe it's time that we acknowledge that as much as mountaintop views and moments are beautiful, refreshing and even needed- we can't live there. And instead of trying to reclaim those moments or praying for the next mountaintop, we prayed this:
"Open up our eyes to see You in the ordinary
we don't want to miss You anymore.
Open up every eye to see every day, everything is
burning with the glory of the Lord." (Aaron Keyes)