The Ups and Downs of Faith – Pastor Ben Sanders

It’s no mystery that life is a lot like a roller coaster, full of twists, turns and some steep drops as well. One minute we are on top of the world with everything just clicking for us. The next minute it feels like the floor has dropped out from underneath us. This is a universal truth. Sometimes we may be tempted to think it’s just us or our own families, but that is without a doubt untrue.

There has also been the misconception that Christians are immune to this fact because we have Jesus working on our behalf. This also could not be further from the truth. Having a relationship with the Creator doesn’t excuse us from hard times, it just allows us to lean on Him when we experience them.

Another word picture for us to understand the ups and downs of life is to equate them to mountain top and valley experiences. We love the mountain tops because we feel the joy of things going our way. Maybe you just got married, had a baby or received a promotion at work. Maybe it’s as small as being able to have a pain free day where your body works properly. Mountain top experiences don’t have to be massive, they can be simple things we have prayed for.

The valley experiences are the ones that we generally do not appreciate. Maybe your car broke down again, you get laid off from work unexpectedly or you’re going through a divorce. These are the times that can really test our faith walk with God.

Deuteronomy 11:11-12 says, “But the land you are crossing the Jordan to take possession of is a land of mountains and valleys that drinks rain from heaven. It is a land the Lord your God cares for; the eyes of the Lord your God are continually on it from the beginning of the year to its end.

Spiritual mountain tops might include things like accepting Christ into your heart, water baptism, a healing or maybe just a Sunday worship time. It’s important that we worship the Lord on these occasions and thank Him for all He has done. It’s also extremely important to remember these mountain top experiences when you are way down in the valley.

Having the ability to look over your shoulder and see where you were just on top of the mountain metaphorically, helps to increase your faith. It allows you to remember God’s goodness and to trust He will bring you out of the valley. Conversely, as you exit a spiritual valley and head back to the mountain top, it’s good to see where God’s hand was on your life.

Now, another very important fact about the valley is that it’s in this season that you cry out to the Lord. You cry out for His help and guidance. You also plant in the valley, you plant and toil so that faith will cause you to bear fruit. That fruit is what you will need for your next mountain. The stretching and toiling in the valley sustains you on the mountain tops.

King David in the Bible is a great example of one who lived through many peaks and valleys. He killed the Philistine giant as a boy. He was a valiant warrior and became king. However, he also committed murder and infidelity. He lost his firstborn son and had to deal with his children acting treacherously. Those are some awfully high mountains tops and some mighty low valleys. God was with Him through it all, and God used David in a mighty way not to mention he is in the lineage of Jesus Christ.

Remember today that whether you are standing on the top of a mountain in your life or if you are crawling through the lowest valley, God is there. Call out to the Lord in praise for the good and for strength and guidance through the bad. You are growing your faith and that is always a worthwhile endeavor.