Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John… and bringeth them UP into an high mountain apart… And as they came DOWN from the mountain… —Matthew 17:1, 9
What is harder—Climbing up a mountain or coming down from a mountain? I’m not a mountain climber, but I have climbed a couple of small mountains—Silly Mountain in Apache Junction, AZ and Hibriten Mountain in Lenoir, NC. From my limited experience, it is just as hard, and maybe harder, to come down from a mountain as it was to go up!
I have a good friend who has climbed several large mountains—Pike’s Peak, Mount Rainier, Mount Shasta, and Mount Hood. He told me the strain on your muscles after climbing up leaves your legs weak and rubbery. You’re not as steady coming down as you were when you started up. Fatigue also makes it harder.
Peter, James, and John had a “mountain top experience” with Jesus as He was transfigured with Elijah and Moses before them (Mt. 17:1-8). Peter wanted to make tents and dwell there. But there were people at the base of the mountain who needed them. So they came down. What a descent that must have been for them as they came down from that mountain. [Most scholars believe this was on Mount Hermon.]
The same is true about coming down from a spiritual mountain top experience. What a blessing to have a “mountain top” experience with the Lord. But, you cannot live on the mountain top. After the joy of being on the mountain top, we are faced with the inevitability of coming down to the reality of pain, sorrow and ministry.
Coming down spiritually can be painful. Jesus knew this when He came down from Mt. Zion in heaven to this sin-cursed planet. Coming down means humbling yourself. This involves killing your pride and pride does not “die” easily (and has a way of resurrecting itself continually). After the disciples came down, they needed to be humbled (Mark 9:33-35).
So, enjoy whatever mountain top experience you may have with the Lord. But remember also, what goes up, must come down. For every mountain top there is a valley also, and coming down may be harder than going up.