50 years ago I climbed with my older brother, C.S, up the Lion Rock Mountain, in the Kowloon peninsula across from Hong Kong Island. We backpacked up the mountain slopes and camped out at nights. As we reached the summit we stopped to rest. The view of the valley and harbor below was breathtaking.

As I grew older I realized that there were mountaintop experiences in my spiritual life. I enjoyed the spiritual “highs” at youth camp at 6,000 feet elevation in the summer. I wanted to stay there as long as possible.

Eventually, I had to return to the San Bernardino Valley where my family lived. I discovered that it was in the valleys I learned to grow as a Christian. In the midst of crisis, grief, loss, pain and suffering, my struggles in the valley challenged me and helped me to mature in my faith.

Today, I look back at those mountaintop experiences and remember them with joy. Yet, I know that through the valleys I have seen the most growth and seasoning in my life.

The Psalmist David lived in the caves for fear of his life. He hid from the threats of King Saul. He remembered God’s presence and help in the mountains, as he declared,

“I will lift up my eyes to the hills [around Jerusalem, to sacred Mount Zion and Mount Moriah]--From whence shall my help come? My help comes from the Lord, Who made Heaven and earth....The Lord is your keeper....The Lord will keep you from all evil; He will keep your life....from this time forth and for evermore.” (Psalm 121:1-2, 5, 7-8, The Holy Bible , AMP)

David also remembered God’s presence; comfort and protection carried him through the VALLEYS as he wrote,
“Even though I walk through the VALLEY of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for YOU are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.” (Psalm 23:4, NIV)
Jane Eggleston wrote this inspiring poem,

    “Sometimes life seems hard to bear, Full of sorrow, trouble and woe,
    It's then I have to remember, That it's in the valleys I grow.
    If I always stayed on the mountaintop, And never experienced pain,
    I would never appreciate God's love and would be living in vain.

    I have so much to learn, And my growth is very slow,
    Sometimes I need the mountaintops, But it's in the valleys I grow.
    I do not always understand, Why things happen as they do,
    But I am very sure of one thing; My Lord will see me through.

    My little valleys are nothing, When I picture Christ on the cross.
    He went through the valley of death; His victory was Satan's loss.
    Forgive me Lord, for complaining, When I'm feeling so very low.
    Just give me a gentle reminder, That it's in the valleys I grow.

    Continue to strengthen me, Lord and use my life each day,
    To share your love with others and help them find their way.
    Thank you for valleys, Lord, For this one thing I know.
    The mountain tops are glorious, But it's in the valleys I grow!


Lynda Randle sings this powerful song,
    Life is easy when you’re up on the mountain,
    You’ve got peace of mind like you’ve never known;
    But things change when you’re down in the valley,
    Don’t lose faith for you’re never alone.

    We talk of faith when we’re up on the mountain,
    Talk comes so easy when life’s at its best;
    But it’s down in the valley of trials and temptations,
    That’s where your faith is really put to the test.

    Refrain: For the God on the mountain, Is still God in the valley;
    When things go wrong, He’ll make them right;
    And the God of the good times, Is still God in the bad times;
    The God of the day Is still God in the night.

    (Spring House Productions, Inc. Alexandria, IN)