Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A Valley With No End In Sight

As a Christian I have learned through the years how wonderful those mountaintop experiences can be when prayer is answered, the fog you were engulfed in is suddenly lifted and you are able to see your way clear to the next step in life. I have also learned equally well the testing of the valleys. Sometimes it is a short valley with a spot of light to move towards but other times it is the kind of valley whose length seems to go on forever as you find yourself trapped in its darkness and gloom. The only way you would understand these word pictures is if you have both enjoyed the mountaintops and have found yourself struggling as a valley dweller.

Mountaintops are easy to be thankful for and enjoy the abundances of God's blessings. Valley living is a different story as often times the best you can hope for is enough light to take the next step. It is so easy to exhibit contentment when we breathe in that clean mountain air and equally so hard to find contentment when we find ourselves in the stressful existence of the valley. But in reality that is the key to valley survival skills. Learning contentment as Paul mentioned in Philippians 4:11. Contentment is much easier to practice when things are going well, the bills are paid, and the refrigerator is full. The real lessons of contentment are learned when you're stuck and there is nothing you can do but wait on Him.

It is only when you experience the feeling of not being in control that you begin to learn to become absolutely dependent on Him and His that word. Its at this point that you really begin to understand what contentment means. Please notice Paul said that he had "learned" to be content. That learning only comes when you walk through the valley and realize that God's "word is a lamp to your feet and a light to your path" Psalm 119:105. That is when you learn to "trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; (so that) in all your ways (you can) acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths," Proverbs 3:5-6.

You may be feeling your way through the valley at this moment with some trial or test. One of the questions you may be asking is how can I know for sure that this will end and I'll finally see light at the end of the trail? The answer is simple, so simple in fact that it took me a few years to finally get it. God is in control. That's it! He is sovereign and He and He alone is in control of all that goes on and especially so in the lives of His children. Now your valley time may have caused you to doubt this but I can prove it to you. In John 10:14 Jesus said, "I am the Good Shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by my own." In verse 27 He said, "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me." Just think, the God who created the universe, John 1:1-3 cares about His own; you! So if you belong to Him, He not only knows what mountaintop you are rejoicing on, He also knows exactly where you are in the valley of darkness, disappointment and pain.

Don't give in or give up. Take it from one who has explored many valleys, He will give you enough light to see His path through and out of whatever valley you're in. And if perhaps you are on the mountaintop, enjoy it because everything is downhill from there!

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