Intentional gratitude is always top-of-mind this time of year, with Thanksgiving quickly approaching. With the hustle and bustle of life, it’s often easy to forget that expressing gratitude applies to all seasons of our lives. As believers, we are called to be grateful in all situations and to live with the joy of the Lord.
If you’ve spent summer at any camp, you’ve likely experienced a “Camp High” or a “mountaintop experience.” Whether you attend for one, two or four weeks, Kanakuk is always stocked full of moments that remind us of our Creator and our purpose. These are the moments that make us feel closer to Him than ever before.
We promise that you aren’t the only one who has experienced a “Camp High.” Matthew 17 tells us about a different mountaintop experience from thousands of years ago. From this account of Jesus on an actual mountaintop with his close friends and disciples—Peter, James and John—we learn how to respond to life’s high points as believers.
“Six days later Jesus took with Him Peter and James and John his brother, and led them up on a high mountain by themselves. And He was transfigured before them; and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as light.”
Matthew 17: 1–2
The people who walked daily on Earth with Jesus regularly experienced strong, powerful emotions. As they watched their Savior interact with sinners, priests, and everyone in between, Jesus’ disciples were constantly filled with intense joy, adoration, wonderment and awe. Their human minds had a lot to think about and process!
But, when Jesus took His disciples to the top of a mountain, they were free from all distractions. Jesus took the opportunity to show the men who God really was in a way that they had never seen. On that mountain, they felt the presence of a Heavenly God who they had heard about for so long. He was standing in front of them talking with Elijah and Moses, storied prophets from the past.
This experience brought the disciples closer to Him. They were vividly reminded that Jesus is God and Creator.
At Kamp, we feel as if we are taken to a mountaintop, away from “normal” life’s responsibilities. We are surrounded by people who love Jesus and talk to Him everyday. We are constantly encouraged to read our Bibles and pray. We see people worship authentically and unashamedly. We can see Jesus in a new way and through the eyes of the believers around us—full of glory and power.
Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, I will make three tabernacles here, one for You, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”
It is easy to feel close to Christ and desire to follow Him while we’re at Kamp. As Peter said to Jesus on the mountain, it’s undeniably good for us to be in an element that encourages God’s presence. Sometimes we don’t even want to go home! Similarly, the disciples didn’t want to leave the mountaintop, but regular life was calling them back down to continue their own ministries.
As you leave the mountaintop—as the Camp High fades away—pursue Him at home, school and work. Find new ways to see Him and know Him. Think about the things you did at Kamp that strengthened your faith, and implement them at home. This could include:
Finding places to worship: in your car, at home, at church
Creating a space to be alone with Him: reading your Bible or talking to Him
Practicing thankfulness: looking for places God shows up in your life
Hearing messages from other believers: at church, youth group or through online resources
Finding Community: Joining an I’m Third Group
Know that you aren’t the first to practice this lifestyle. Your friends, counselors and even the first disciples have all come down from the mountaintop. We as believers must learn to live out our faith in the day-to-day. Let that process be exciting, and know that wherever you are, the Lord is with you!
“For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Be encouraged! He is in all things and nothing can separate you from Him. Lean into Him as you return to your life, because He is there, too.