THE MOUNTAIN CALLED RIGHT AND THE VALLEY CALLED LEFT
by Minister John Michael Estes
You suddenly awake, walking out of the fog of sleep as the sun of this world blares against your eyes. You seem to remember a dream and even as you contemplate upon it, the memory has quickly begun to fade. As your recollection slips away you seem to remember being part of some fascinating, majestic work and powerful, electrifying notes to a song that you have already forgotten the words to play vaguely on the strings of the back of your mind (Job 38:4-7). You try for a few moments to remember what the dream was about but then your mind begins to think of your present surroundings and it slips from your thoughts because this is the manner with dreams along with things we aren't supposed to remember.
As you look around, you find that you are on a gently sloping path with rolling hills to either side. There is a pleasant smelling breeze that blows through the mulberry trees near the path (2 Samuel 5:2-24). As it twists its way through the leaves, it seems to make an almost musical sound. It seems to be calling to you in a small peaceful voice (1 Kings 19:12, John 10:4). to walk up the sloping path so you turn and look in that direction. You see that the path winds into a mountain that gradually narrows out of sight into an amazing array of multi-colored cliffs and jagged, angular rocks.
You begin to walk in that direction and for the first time you see the small dots of others ahead of you going the same way, yet some of them seem to be walking back towards you in a dejected way with their heads down. You think to yourself that this would be the way to go. You look forward to the challenging adventure of scaling the cliffs that others, in their seemingly obvious weakness, could not. You think of the reward of tribute you would receive respectfully from others when you succeed. You feel that if you could get to the top, then you would be king and everyone would idolize you. You feel young and powerful with strong legs. You feel invincible and immortal and nothing, you think, can stop you (Jeremiah 49:16).
After a short while one of the dots that you saw ahead becomes clearly shaped like a human. As you draw closer the human shape becomes clearly female and as you draw yet closer the female shape becomes clearly beautiful. She smiles and flashes her sparkling blue eyes at you as she brushes her golden locks away from her face while they catch the rays of the sun, reflecting them upon your soul. "You don't want to go that way," she says with a giggle, "It's boring and cold. Besides that, you can't do anything you really want to and also you miss all of the good times going on down in the valley called left, not to mention the music down there is better- can't you hear it calling you? (Proverbs 7:6-27)" For the first time you hear the sound of a carnival-like orchestra bouncing off the hills. It seems to wrap around your heart and pull you back down the path. As you look in the direction it comes from you see that the path gradually widens until it becomes a large valley, so much so that eventually you can't even see the sides of the path anymore. But what is in the path fills you with excited expectation (1 John 2:16). You see a large crowd of people that you can not even begin to number. As they dance to the music, their rollicking laughter makes you want to be a part of what they are doing. Anything, you think to yourself, anything that makes people so happy can't be wrong (Proverbs 7:6-27). You notice that the farther you look out across the valley that used to be a path, the party seems to become more and more active. You tell the young lady beside you, "I think I will accompany you." "Good!," she exclaims and you grip her hand and skip with her down the path. You have a quickly passing thought about why the breeze no longer plays in your ears through the mulberry trees and then again, maybe you have just forgotten it was there.
The further down the path you get, the more people you notice upon it with you. You notice that you see a diversity of people and people doing things you never saw where you came from. But they seem nice enough, even if they, and the things they do, make you uncomfortably feel you don't belong. You mention this to your friend and she replies after a puff on a cigarette, "You just need to loosen up. You have to get rid of that horrible mind set they have up there on the mountain called right and everything will be peachy, honey." You start to take a quick look back but she sees you and puts her arm around you pulling you closer as she guides you down the path. As you feel the warmth of her body near yours, you forget about the uncomfortable atmosphere and ask her for one of her cigarettes.
As you travel, you notice that the rocky, jagged, narrow path of the mountain called right gave way to gravel, the gravel to dirt, and the dirt gave way to the smooth, beautifully paved boulevard of the valley called left. Everyone seems happy and peace seems to shine in their faces. There are a multitude of widely-colored flowers where the "fairies" of the far left dance happily to the music that fills the valley. These strange-acting people make you feel sick to your stomach but then you remember what that nice, effeminately sentimental preacher said up the path a while back. "We are God's children (John 8:44)," he chimed, "we just all need to love each other (Psalm 139:21-22) and everything will be okay!" He assured you that he could provide you with a "Jesus" (2 Corinthians 11:3-4) to fit your needs as he flashed his Billy Graham personality, his Kenneth Copeland smile and his Deon Sanders jewelry. He did it just like any good used car salesman would as a sparkle of light made a clean ring off of his pearl-white teeth (2 Corinthians 11:13-15). Yet even as you heard him you noticed the triangular, radiant red flags in front of his car lot blowing in that same gentle breeze. They seemed to be pointing back to the way from which you had come and there was something comfortingly familiar about that name "Jesus" he mentioned. You asked him why he didn't build his car lot farther back up the path in the valley called right and the dream salesman twisted his face into a mug of disgust as he replied, "I don't want my car lot up there. Just think of all the potential brothers and sisters I would miss that could be a blessing to me - not to mention the Lord." You thought this to be somewhat odd but then you remembered what your friend said about you needing to change your mindset and decided that you liked this salesman. After all, he did know that comforting name. You wanted to stay but your friend tugged your arm again and said, "This guy is okay but he really doesn't know how to have fun. All of the fun is happening farther down." So you hesitantly bid him farewell and trod on down the widening path.
Now you came upon a group of people under a tree. They have long hair and are dressed in a wild array of colors. They laugh and play in the clovers as they pass something around that looks kind of like the cigarettes you've begun to smoke, but somewhat different. Your friend releases your hand as she exclaims, "This is it!," and runs toward the group. She seems to blend in with them immediately like this is where she belonged the whole time. She begins to dance and accepts one of the cigarette-like objects from one of the people. You, however, feel out of place and being lonely and alone, slowly approach the dancing people as they look at you suspiciously.
You see that your friend has begun to dance with another guy in the group, you feel jealous and become determined to prove that you are just as "cool" as he is. About now everyone seems to be gathering in a circle. You take a seat in the circle across from your "friend" and her new acquaintance. Someone passes you one of the cigarette-like objects and you look at it suspiciously but then you see your "friend" cut her eyes towards you and feeling as if you have something to prove you puff on the sweet tasting herb. You begin to feel relaxed as a hypnotic-like doze clouds your mind. This seems to be the first time you have been "happy" since you were very young. Several people begin to tell jokes and everyone responds to them with rolling laughter. You, being anxious to fit in, begin to tell one. You finish to find that no one laughs and several people whisper to others while giving you strange looks. The guy sitting next to your one-time "friend" says, "He isn't like us but we still need to love him because we are all God's children." Your old "friend" comments on how profound he is and you turn and walk away with your head down and bitterness in your heart. Then you decide that you don't need them anyway, all you need is that sweet-tasting cigarette-like thing.
You wander far away from the center of the valley and the farther out you go, the more tortured the people are and the darker it gets. Out here, crime is rampant and there seems to be no law, or respect of it anyway. You run into a fellow who is somewhat better dressed than everyone else and he says that the salesman back up the path sent him down here because it makes him feel good to try to help those who have fallen through the circles. He invites you to the car lot but you decline, feeling like a misfit and that the place for misfits is here. You run into another who says that he is from the center of the valley and that the answer to everyone's problems out here is simple. He claims that they are just "defective cells" in the universal mind of God and that they have a "disease" that causes them to behave this way. He claims that there are twelve easy steps along with some reasonably priced therapeutic treatment that will bring them all back to the proper way of thinking. He goes on to say that if their parents had raised them right and if it wasn't for those narrow-minded people up there on the right, they wouldn't be this way. You listen to what he has to say but continue on, trying out the other things you find people doing in what has become a thick, cold forest.
The time seems to lapse out here. You can't remember if you have been out here for days or years. The things that used to seem to give you comfort and happiness have only carried you so deep into the forest that it has become a horribly cold marsh. The trees don't even have leaves and they seem to be dead as well. You have lost all sense of direction and you know that you are hopelessly lost. You wonder if the people in the middle of the valley called left know how rough and cold it is out here on the side of the valley.
As you shiver, covered with mud and slime, you hear someone walking toward you. A man walks up to you in a suit and seems completely peculiar (1 Peter 2:9) and out of place. You have never seen anyone like him in the valley called left. The salesman was similar yet in another way completely different (Romans 12:2). He smiles at you and wraps a blanket around you (Matthew 25:35-36). His smile is not cheap like the salesman's but seems to be full of a radiant beauty from the inside rather than the outside. He gives you a change of clothes and some food and tells you that he has been looking for you so that he could give you an invitation. "You mean someone wants to invite me to something?," you ask. He just laughs pleasantly and says, "I don't deserve an invitation either (Ephesians 2:8-9), I am a horrible lawbreaker (1 John3:4), but for some reason before this valley or that mountain was here the Builder of it all put our names on the invitation list (Ephesians 1:3-6)." This sends a jolt of excitement through your soul because deep down you know that it is true. "The invitation is to a fabulous wedding which will be followed by a never-ending wedding reception in twelve-tribed paradise (Revelation 21:1-14)," he says to you. "Where is it and who has sent the invitation?," you ask. He pauses, seeming to contemplate your question then replies, "It is on the other side of the gate called straight at the end of the narrow path on top of the mountain called right and you have been invited by none other than the ever-living God (Revelation 22:13), the Most High (Deuteronomy 32:8), the name above all names (Philippians 2:9-10), our Yahshua (Zechariah 3), the Lord Jesus Christ." When you hear that name you recognize something very close to you in the eyes of the man. Somehow you feel a close kinship to him and you think to yourself that you have finally found someone like you (Romans 8:16, Galatians 3:29).
He equips you for your journey and guides you up out of the valley called left. As you look at the steep path ahead you feel discouraged. At once, the salesman walks quietly up to you and puts his hand on your shoulder. "You don't have to go up there "brother." I serve "Jesus", too and you can have Him right here a whole lot easier," he says with his forked tongue as he smiles his innocent smile. You look him in the eyes (1 Corinthians 2:15) and ask, "Do you have an invitation, too?" "Everyone does!," he replies. "Show it to me," you respond (Matthew 7:20). "I have to go get it," he says with a flash of anger in his eyes and walks away. Looking back to see your kinsman in the suit beginning his descent back down the path you shout down to him, "I started this way once before when I was young, I might have made it easily then but then the time I spent in the valley called left eroded my strength and aged me. I don't know if I can make it now, can you help me on a little further?" "I've got others of our kind that I must invite, you have to do this on your own now," he says. "You are right, you don't have a lot that you had the last time you started up but you left something very important and very harmful down in the valley. If you still had it, you would never make it up. You left your pride (Proverbs 28:23). Peace my brother, you can make it." Then he turns and walks on down the path. You watch him go for awhile thinking of how you will miss him but then you have a strange feeling that you will see him again. Then you hear a familiar musical sound as the breeze blows in the mulberry trees. You hear that same small voice that calls you up the path. You choke back your tears because it still calls you after all you have done (Romans 8:35-39) and you realize that you have wasted enough time. It is time to go.
The further up the mountain called right that you travel, the more perilous the travel becomes. It seems to get more step and more narrow every step of the way. The air seems thinner as well, but you think about the wedding and the paradise of the twelve tribes and you are renewed with determination. It is not uncommon for you to occasionally slip and fall, skinning your knees and elbows or worse. You notice, however, that the higher you get the more people there are that will run to your side to patch you up and help you to your feet again. There are by far not more people, just more that want to help because by now all of those around you have, at some time in their travel, been through similar bumps and scrapes. Occasionally you even see those leaning on other people's shoulders as they help them limp up the path that they could no longer walk on their own. You now are on an amazingly steep part of the path and there doesn't seem to be anyone else going the same way you are. The only people you have seen for days are limping back down the path with oozing wounds and a blank, defeated look in their eyes. You have tried asking several what happened and they just shot you angry glances and mumbled something unintelligible (Matthew 22:14). Finally, you came to a place that seems to be almost straight up. You step back, look at it, and with a running start you begin to scale the steep, gravelly nightmare. Halfway up, you slip and fall. When you hit the bottom you hear your leg give a grotesque snap as it twists strangely behind you in a compound fracture. As the sun sets and the cold night creeps in upon the mountain called right, you lie there bewildered and weeping, feeling that you should've stayed in the middle of that smooth valley of sunshine all along. Here you feel even more cold and lonely then in the side of the valley called left as the tears roll down your cheeks. You are hungry, but can't get food and you're cold but cannot walk to build a fire. In a moment of desperation you cry out, "Why did I come this way?" and as an after thought you add, "Help Lord!," not expecting an answer because you feel if He really cared about you He wouldn't have left you this way. Then as the darkness of night sets thick around you along with the emptiness of depression, a man comes and builds a fire and prepares a table of food before you (Psalm 23:5). His manner seems gentle, yet He is large and strong and you can't see his face. You, as yet, have said nothing, believing this to be a hallucination caused by the shock of cold, hunger and the loss of blood in this high altitude. As you eat, He reaches across the fire and wipes your tears from your eyes and says these words, "To answer your question, you came this way because of me. Now, rest my precious child."
You sleep a fitting sleep full of peace, happiness and warmth. You awake in the morning with the sun shining upon the surrounding hills and mountains in a glorious display of unexplainable color. You stand up, realizing that your leg has been made whole. The victory of overcoming your turmoil along with the fresh, clean mountain breeze and the magnificent scene before you becomes too much to hold in.
"Hallelujah!," you shout, "This is what it is all about, this is why I am alive!" Then you look at the path you must continue upon and see that up above it gets impossibly more steep and narrow. You sigh, again discouraged, but you feel a strength that you never seemed to have felt before and far above you in a hazy cloud you see something that you never noticed before. A bright, dazzling, white, wholesome light glows through a narrow crack in an
elaborately decorated Straight Gate that sits upon the steepest, most narrow and difficult rise ahead of you. Something stirs in your heart as you set your jaw and begin your climb to the straight gate.
We constantly hear in the news media about the "left wing" and the "right wing." We hear about the radicals and the moderates and come across many people in life who reside in that "gray" area between. We hear that the "far left" is too loose or too wild and that the "far right" is mean, evil and full of hate.
Where does all of this fit in comparison with the Word of God? The clear and simple answer comes from the perfect lips of none other than the Lord Jesus Christ himself. He says, "Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it (Matthew 7:13-14)." On the "left wing" everybody is included and the laws few, making it easy. It can be summed up in one word: liberal. The further you go right however, the fewer people there are and the more exclusive it becomes. There is more self-discipline and order. This also can be summed up in one word: conservative. Is there any place more "straight" or "narrow" than the far right? I think not.
As usual, the Bible answers another question that stumps society as they refuse to rely upon the living Word for the answers.
Previously Published in CPM
[ Date: Sunday, August 3rd, 1997 ]
(Last Page Update: March 28, 2010)
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