The journey to your mountaintop is an arduous one and you will face many challenges. At some point you will sojourn through the valley of the shadow of death. It is here the ground is so unleveled you waver and doubt your every step.
Everything in your life seems to be falling apart and you’ve never been so scared or unsure of yourself. Your neck hurts when you try to look up because your back is overburdened. Your faith is weaker than it’s ever been, and if God is really out there, He doesn’t seem to care.
But here in the valley you are not alone. You encounter people, some of whom you wouldn’t normally associate with, suffering their own crisis.
Life has shattered and bruised them, left them hardened and bitter or just a big pile of mush. Whatever state you find them in, you’re able to relate to them and they can relate to you. Both of you sit in the same barren spot licking your wounds together.
They know the right things to say to make you feel better because they understand. Your affection for them grows; they become your friends.
Then something happens. You change. You heal. Your burdens lift. Now you can raise your head again and see the sun and its warmth feels good. You’re no longer content to sit under the tree of despair licking wounds. You’re ready to move on and live again.
Your friends, however, still inhabit the shadows and are content where they are. And they don’t care much for your change. They liked you the way you were, when you were like them. They don’t want you to go and make you feel guilty about your deliverance, your healing, or your awakening.
You’re perplexed because you know you got to go, but you don’t want to leave your friends behind. You encourage them to come with you, telling them they no longer have to live in the land of death. There’s a better way, you tell them, but they’re not interested in change. They don’t want what you’re preaching. They just want you to come to your senses and return to them. Make it like it was.
When you refuse, they get violent, not necessarily in a physical way, but they say things to manipulate, offend and frustrate you. The people you believed were friends now reject and scorn you. They, becoming a new burden, a new set of shackles, make it difficult for you to leave and cast shadows that threaten to overtake the light that made you live again.
You have a difficult decision to make, but it’s the only one to make if you really want to live. You must stand for the life God has given you. It takes courage to stand, to walk away from the people who were with you in the valley of the shadow of death. But people who don’t change or won’t grow has nothing to add to a person who does. They can only tear down and destroy. They can only be a hindrance, a weight.
The bible says a tree that doesn’t bear fruit must be chopped down (See Matt 7:19; John 15:2). It’s no good. It’s not easy to do when that tree is a man–your friend, to say the least. But you have to stand or you will waste away in the valley of the shadow of death.
When they get violent, so must you. Fight for your life. Pray for theirs. And head for your mountaintop.