Men risk life and limb to see the top of Mount Everest, and it seems people are lost yearly climbing Mount Rainier. Even women and children take the small but real risk of climbing volcanic Mount Fuji.

We all want to be on the mountaintop, the place where we feel we’ve accomplished all we set out to do, where the pain of life doesn’t touch us, that high of highs when life is at it’s very best. And why shouldn’t we? After all it was the mountaintops that appeared first after the flood, giving Noah’s family hope and cheer. It was the mountaintop where God met with Moses, and where God showed him the Promised Land. From the top of the mountain all one’s enemies can be seen and easily dispatched, and from the mountaintop on can see all life has to offer. But is the mountaintop a good place to live?

As we go higher and higher on the mountain, the land becomes rocky and barren. It becomes cold and the air starts to thin. Stay long enough or go unprepared and you are apt to freeze to death or die of lack of oxygen. Yes the mountaintop is a wonderful place to visit, but maybe not such a good place to live.

No one wants to be in the valley. It brings to mind “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,” (Psalm 23:4). The valley is the low place, the place where our enemies are above and in control of us, where our view is limited. Yet is seems we spend most of our lives in the valley, and some of us feel like we’ve always been in the valley, and long for a view from the mountaintop. But let’s consider the valley.

Unlike the mountaintop, the valley is rich, green, and fertile. Beautiful things grow there. Wild life and food are plentiful, and water is abundant in the valley. “He sendeth the springs into the valleys, which run among the hills.” (Psalm 104:10). Yes, Moses saw the Promised Land from the mountaintop, but the land of milk and honey was a valley. “But the land, whither ye go to possess it, is a land of hills and valleys, and drinketh water of the rain of heaven:” (Deuteronomy 11:11).

There’s nothing wrong with wanting a mountaintop view, but we must remember it’s the life we’ve lived in the valley that has made us strong enough to climb the mountain. Our growth in the valley makes us wise and prepares us for the mountaintop. Our struggle from the valley to the mountaintop makes us appreciate the rest we can have there.

*My friend, by the time you reach the mountaintop, you should be ten-feet-tall and bulletproof.*