Wednesday, April 10, 2013
Peaks and Valleys
I attended a funeral yesterday for an old friend. He was 93 and had been ready to go home for a long time. He's home today.
As I came into the lobby of the church I saw several other friends I haven't seen in a while. We began to talk about the struggles of life, the peaks and valleys of being human. One of my friends said, "I always grow best in the valleys." To which I replied, "I bet you don't pray for valleys though!" He smiled and admitted he didn't.
We all have the ups and downs of life, the joys and sorrows of finding and losing, hopes and fears. But I think my friend was right that our times of growth are when we are forced to trust God, when we are afraid, when all hope seems lost...it's in those times when we grow the most. It's those times of wilderness when we have to trust God or else.
On the mountains all is good. We feel the breeze, see the sun and enjoy the bounty of what God has given. Why is it that we don't seem to trust God as much in the good days as we must in the bad? I think it's because there are moments of delusion when we think we have everything taken care of. We forget that every moment is a moment of total trust in God...whether mountain top or dark valley of despair.
The bible is filled with admonitions that are based on one essential truth. Here are a few of the things we are told from both old and new testament, "Don't fret", "don't worry", "don't be anxious", "don't be afraid", and many more. I know, if you've read the bible, you've seen some of these simple admonitions.
They are all based on this one truth- God is sovereign! That means he's in total control of EVERYTHING and fully able to accomplish his plans for you. He's ALWAYS in control. And, he's all powerful. The reasons we are given these admonitions always comes back to one basic truth. You have an awesome big God who is taking care of everything. Whether peak or valley God is with you, caring for you, watching over you.
Today was a valley day for me. It came in a moment, much like a roller coaster. One minute I'm at the top, enjoying the sun and the beautiful day and then my stomach drops as I plummet towards the valley. Fear and panic invade my emotions and my thoughts race to thoughts of despair and hopelessness. I know you have been on that ride as well. As I plummet to the valley I have to stop and remind myself of who is in control of my life. It doesn't stop the emotions of the moment, but in just a bit I remember God.
As I talked to God about all of this today I admitted I would have been worse than any of his people coming out of Egypt! He would have struck me dead on the first day, but I'm so thankful that his grace and kindness helps me, as weak as I am, through the descents into the valley...where, like my friend, I always grow the most.