This Valley I Tread

When times are good, be happy;
but when times are bad, consider:
God has made the one as well as the other.
(Ecclessiates 7:14)
Hard times.  I hate ’em!  Yet they’re sure to come.  And just as night follows day, hard times often follow high times.

One month you can be on Mountain Path, enjoying a spectacular view, bountiful blessings, and intimate moments with God (see Nov 12 blog post).  The next thing you know, you’re on a bumpy ride down Valley Trail, dodging potholes, searching for a right turn, and focusing intently on the directions of your GPS (God’s Precious Spirit).

If you could “GoogleEarth” me today, that’s where you’d find me unfortunately.

Hmm.  Let’s mark out that last word.  Is it unfortunate that I’m here in the Valley?  No, I don’t think so.  I’m not here as a matter of fortune but as a matter of purpose. There’s a lot of work to be done here — most of it on me!

You see, this is not the Valley of Sin. I’m not here because of sin I’ve committed (I’ve actually been more obedient lately than usual!).  No, this is a different valley: a valley where wars are fought, where lessons are learned, where painful fires burn as they purify and purge before propelling the traveller upward again!

It’s the Valley of Intimacy, where a child might be instructed by her Father; where a servant might receive orders from his Master; where a faithful yet weary sojourner might be reinvigorated by Living Water; where the purpose of a pot is further molded by his Potter; where a branch might be pruned by her Gardener; or where the army of God defends a soldier against his attacker.

Oh, it’s not an easy place to travel!  There’s rugged terrain and dry desserts to cross which often lead to some “vehicle” maintenance.  Yet there’s an oft-missed beauty about this Valley. It’s a place where one rests in God’s arms beneath her, feels His presence beside her, listens to His Spirit inside her, and relies on His stance above her.  And if one can keep her focus on the purpose of the Valley of Intimacy and the destination that lies ahead, then there can be joy in the journey.

As a preacher said on his television program yesterday, “When you are down to nothing, God is up to something!”  How true!  When we are out of gas, out of resources, and out of power, God takes the wheel — and you better have on your spiritual seatbelt because it’s always an awesome ride from “nothing” toward “something”!

Good times and bad: “God has made the one as well as the other.” And who is He?

He is God Most High;

He is Father Most Precious;

He is Love Most Pure;

He is Grace Most Abundant —

and we can trust Him!