A Mountain Top Experience
When I was in high school I was part of all the Christian organizations. There is one thing I can say about them…they did me a lot of good but also a lot of harm. There was so much focus on emotional experiences or what they called, a mountain-top experience. In other words, some big and exciting experience between you and God. I always carried around this pressure…why wasn’t I having these exciting and phenomenal experiences with God? Was I just not good enough or holy enough? I quickly burned out and quit those groups. I found my church youth group much more steady, solid, feeding me good theology on consistant Christian living rather than pressuring me to have an experience that never seemed to come.
I have since learned those “mountain top” experiences do very occasionally happen and I can count them on one hand. They also never happened when I was expecting them or pursuing them. Christianity is about magical little moments. It is about consistant living in holiness and worship of the one true God. But, every once and while it seems God reveals himself in a more specific, almost tactile way. Little precious glimpses of what is to come.
A couple of months ago we had the opportunity to go to a Fernando Ortega concert. Just me and Justin. It was only $10 a ticket and I was so worried we wouldn’t have good seats as it was first come, first serve. How I underestimated the love Christians show to each other. Everyone was moving over for strangers, not hogging seats, empty front row places all over the sanctuary. Needless to say, I was impressed with the selfless love people were showing to strangers. Very different from other concerts I have been to.
I cannot really put into words what this evening meant to me. All I can say is this, Fernando Ortega’s music has been a constant source of encouragement to me since having two little babies. Especially in the first months of having a newborn and an angry toddler who was adjusting to being dethroned. I did not know how much I was struggling during that time until now. Don’t get me wrong. I have enjoyed having my little Elinor. I have loved watching Cora become a big sister but the adjustment was not as easy as I thought. In retrospect I realize I was in survival mode for about 10 months or so. During that time Fernando Ortega and his music kept me sane, gave me joy…reminded me of how everything I do is for eternal purposes.
I sat in a beautiful sanctuary surrounded by hundreds of other believers and listened to his voice worship God and heard the cellist accompany him. I wept. I wept because I was overflowing with thankfulness. Thankfulness to a God who could gift a man with so much talent, that could gift people with the ability to sing, to make music, to sing joyfully to His name. He had us sing a few hymns together. I stood with my hand-in-hand with Justin and worshipped. That’s all we did, we spent a night worshipping. The loveliest worship experience I have ever had. When it was over I turned to Justin and I said, “I’ll be honest. Sometimes I have feared worshipping God for eternity will be boring but tonight I realized that isn’t so. It will be awesome…beyond words.” We sang as one, we worshipped as one…the bride loving her groom. A glimpse of eternity. A little peek into the perfection that we will one day obtain with Him. The perseverance of the saints in its completion.
Life happens. It’s busy, it’s hard, it’s distracting. I am so thankful for those times, those glimpses, those minutes, where for once I am focused completely and absolutely on my precious Savior. Where all I can think, breathe and feel is my love for Him. The reality of how big he is, how perfect he is and how whole I will be when I can stand in His presence and worship him forever. A true “mountain-top” experience. No audible words from him, nothing big, explosive, obvious…nothing anybody else could see. Just a very real and very personal time worshipping and praising my Father in heaven. Something I know I will remember as long as I live and something I look forward to doing in eternity.
“To God and to the Lamb I will sing, I will sing;
To God and to the Lamb I will sing;
To God and to the Lamb,
Who is the great I AM,
While millions join the theme, I will sing, I will sing,
While millions join the theme, I will sing.
And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on;
And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing on.
And when from death I’m free
I’ll sing His love for me,
And through eternity I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on,
And through eternity I’ll sing on.”
-What Wondrous Love is This