We all have good weeks and bad weeks, but differentiating between the good weeks to determine which week is the best or most memorable could be a challenge. My honeymoon back in 1979 is a week I will never forget, while a wet week camping in West Wales in 1987 comes close to being one of my worst bad weeks. Family times such as the births of our children, family holidays, and more recently holidays with my wife but without the company of children feature high in my list of best weeks. The best week of my life to date, if considered in spiritual terms, took place in November 2011 when I was a student on a one-week course in Christian Mentoring at Cliff College.

CliffThe fact that Cliff College is located in an especially beautiful part of the UK is not particularly relevant, although I did appreciate the views from the college campus. I also appreciated the course tutors, the people I met on the course, and the catering staff and their excellent performance in feeding us. More precious than all of these people and things were the opportunities provided by being at Cliff to meet with God in a quiet place early each morning, and at other times.

When it was time to leave Cliff on the Friday afternoon I realised how my daughter feels at the end of her annual visits to Youth for Christ camp and to Soul Survivor. Cliff was a mountaintop experience. I’m not going to lie. I wish I could live in that experience continually. But it is a bubble. Something God uses from time to time to bless those who love Him, and to refresh and often rebuild His children. While the view from the mountaintop is superb, life simply isn’t sustainable up there and God wants us back down in the valleys serving His purposes there. The problem with life in the valleys is that it can be really tough. Rather than longing for the mountaintop surely it is better to cherish such times and allow them to sustain us. God is in the valleys too, you know.

After six days Jesus took Peter, James and John with him and led them up a high mountain, where they were all alone. There he was transfigured before them. His clothes became dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them. And there appeared before them Elijah and Moses, who were talking with Jesus. Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” (He did not know what to say, they were so frightened.) Then a cloud appeared and covered them, and a voice came from the cloud: “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!” Suddenly, when they looked around, they no longer saw anyone with them except Jesus. (Mark 9:2-8 NIV)