I was looking at my previous blog site and came upon this entry. It seems kind of appropriate right now. I feel like I’m in a “valley of a different kind” right now which I know is a period of learning.
You know, God has a sense of humor. It was like He was saying to me “Hey, remember when you said this…” And, you know what…I actually needed to be reminded….again. Sigh
February 4, 2010
Originally I was going to call this Blog “Through the Valley”. That is because I see my life as just traveling from mountain to mountain with valleys of obstacles, challenges, truth seeking and understanding on my spiritual journey.
On the mountain to me is feeling the joy and peace of knowing you are loved, unconditionally in Christ. In the valley is when you are challenged with your mistakes, sins, doubts and fears. How I have reacted in the valley determines how long I am in the valley on my journey to the mountain.
I have to admit I’ve spent quite a bit of time in the valleys. I’ve struggled with feeling guilty about my times in the valleys. I’ve been angry, bitter, saddened, fearful, sorrowful, pious, judgmental, unforgiving, resentful, doubtful, distrusting, jealous, envious……where does one stop when we are truly honest with ourselves?
I was reading a devotion this morning called “The Good Shepherd” by Mary Southerland. This is an excerpt:
“God is always at work in our lives, even during the most stress-filled moments. When we entrust everything we are and everything we have to God, when we depend upon his truth instead of our own understanding and choose to walk in obedience, God promises to “make our paths straight” (Proverbs 3:6 NLT). No matter how deep the valley, we can count on God for direction. In Proverbs 3:6, “make straight” means “to do right, to make smooth or to be evenly hammered”. I love that truth! I can almost see my Father going before me, the hammer of truth in his hand, flattening every fear-filled obstacle, hammering down every mountain of doubt before me so that, when he has made a way, I can cross over. He straightens out the crooked paths, improving my behavior and causing me to do the “right” things.
Valleys are best faced with a total abandonment to the Shepherd of the valley. How many times have we danced with joy on the mountain top then moaned and complained in the valley? God is Lord of the mountain and the valley. I suspect that the most powerful life is lived in the valley – not on the mountain top. Every valley is surrounded by mountains and every valley has a shepherd, a shepherd who will walk with us through the valley, a shepherd who will go before us, leading us out of the valley. When the psalmist wrote these words, he wrote my life message, “I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.” (Psalm 40:1-2 NIV)
No matter where you are today, your Father is there. No matter how deep or long the valley, he is with you, waiting for you to surrender all. Give him your valley, knowing that he will surely lead you out. God has ordained that valley as an altar of sacrifice, an opportunity for him to work through your broken heart and life. Keep your glance on the valley and your gaze on the Shepherd. Begin praising him for your deliverance. It will surely come. ”
Did you catch that? God is Lord of the mountain and the valley. I suspect that the most powerful life is lived in the valley – not on the mountain top.
Instead of seeing the valley as something to be ashamed of, angry about, bitter about, doubtful if you will survive, saddened or fearful –the valley can be a powerful life if you are gazing on the Shepherd. God has ordained that valley as an altar of sacrifice, an opportunity for him to work through your broken heart and life.
Looking back I can see my heavenly Father going before me, the hammer of truth in his hand (the truth of His Son), flattening every fear-filled obstacle (feeling alone, different, unloved), hammering down every mountain of doubt (feeling unworthy) before me so that, when he has made a way, I can cross over. He straightens out the crooked paths (miss-teachings of the JW’s), improving my behavior (recognizing and confessing my sins) and causing me to do the “right” things (putting my eyes on Christ).
Praise for each deliverance from the valley!
John 10:11 (NIV) “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”