Good morning all-
Yesterday I took a much needed day off and I really didn't do much. I went to Target and Hobby Lobby and then came home to clean and relax. The sun was out and the air was crisp. It was a beautiful day. I have been thinking a lot about life, how we go from being in the valley of despair to climbing to the top of the mountain. You know what I'm talking about, darkness seems to be everywhere and then all at once; you've been delivered and you know it!
Lately, I have had a health issue that is making me take stock in my life. My family dies young and so I really need to pray for protection. I don't always do everything I need for myself. I would rather do for others but there is something to say about taking time away. Often in my life, I have felt guilty for doing this. My first reaction is to run when I'm in the valley and don't look back. As I am getting older, I see the merit in climbing from the valley to the mountain. Jesus left everyone to go sit on a mountain with His father. Have you ever wondered why? I have many times. This life is so busy and often, He would go off by Himself just to be with His Father. For some, that would seem selfish. On the contrary, those times were when Jesus prepared Himself for the task ahead. He knew that His fame and glory in this world would be fleeting. He was aware that every moment that slipped by was a moment closer to the cross and yet, instead of staying in the valley of despair, He moved toward the top of the mountain. What did He find there? In all the darkness, what propelled Him to go higher and be alone, God did. He was being called for greater things than this world could offer and yet, I wonder how He felt after all He was still a man.
We all have moments of being in the valley. I was with a couple last night that got news that their granddaughter has a rare disease that forms tumors in her major organs. She had tears in her eyes and all I could think about was, "Go to the Mountain and He will meet you there." Didn't I just write about that? If you've ever seen a valley it can be beautiful but if you've ever flown over the mountains then you know they whisper majestic. Mountains are awe inspiring and I have never been near one that I haven't felt God at the precipice. Can he deliver us from the valley? Yes, He can. Think back to the woman in Luke Chapter 13. I was just listening to a tape from the Women of Faith ministry on this very thing. She had been ill for over eighteen years and while she was in the midst of the crowd surrounding Jesus, He called her. Eighteen years with bad health, I think she was definitely in the valley, don't you? For most people during that time, I bet they thought she was unclean, lacked belief or held sin in her life. Whatever her circumstance, God was bigger than life that day and released her from her infirmity. He knew how she suffered. He was in the valley with her and then, He was on the mountain. She was healed and through that healing she couldn't quit praising. Why? Because God so loved her, He took her from the back of the crowd and healed her. She didn't speak then but today, she is the silent hero. She teaches us that in our iniquity He is always with us. We may be deep in that valley but someday He will deliver us.
I've been in great valleys and I have been delivered on a mountain. I have watched as everyone around me is full of joy and the smile you see, the laughter you hear from me is fake. I am good at hiding behind that smile and not letting anyone in. Jesus knows that about me, so on occassion He gives me a wake up call and says, "Come to the Mountain, be still, I am your God." Yesterday was just such a moment. I know that I am being prepared for ministry. I can feel it in my bones but if I don't have the tools to sustain; I will live in the valley. We need to take our instruction from the Lord. When the world is going too fast, when we feel like we are running and hiding; it's time for us to take a breath and climb to the heights of the mountain. There we must wait, watch and pray. He is waiting for us to recognize that we have no strength but in Him all things are possible.
I can't express it enough. Jesus is faithful. I still can't answer the hard questions. I can't tell you why young people die or why the babies we loved turn to murder or criminal activity. I can't explain why men use children for their own gratification or why women are killing the children they helped to create. I don't have the wisdom or understanding on any of this. I must stand on the rock of my faith, with my roots planted deep within the earth, so that I can see Jesus coming into your lives and mine. I must carry my cross. I'm still trying to figure out what that is but I know without a doubt, as I open my mouth to proclaim Him; He will use me.
The valley has taught me that Jesus is real, sustaining and true. He is faithful when I am not. He guides my path and gives me rest when I call upon His name. And in the end, when I come to Him needing guidance, He is with me. Everyone will see a valley in their lives. More than likely, you will see many. You must decide to go to the mountain and let Him restore you. Our journey is decided, where do you want to be?
On a Sabbath Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues, and a woman was there who had been crippled by a spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not straighten up at all. When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said to her, “Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.” Then he put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God. Indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, the synagogue leader said to the people, “There are six days for work. So come and be healed on those days, not on the Sabbath.” The Lord answered him, “You hypocrites! Doesn’t each of you on the Sabbath untie your ox or donkey from the stall and lead it out to give it water? Then should not this woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has kept bound for eighteen long years, be set free on the Sabbath day from what bound her?” When he said this, all his opponents were humiliated, but the people were delighted with all the wonderful things he was doing. (Luke 13:10-17 NIV)
Go to the mountain my sisters, repent and know your God. He is faithful. Never question His love. Jesus showed us every day that we were important.
My prayer today:
O, my God, lead me to the cross. Prepare our way as You love us. Take us out of the valley and up on the mountain with You. Keep us from being the Pharisees. Show us Your ways and make all things new in our sight. Help us to love those that are hurting, in despair and in the valley. Bring forth Your workers and build us up to knowing and loving You more. May our minds and hearts yearn for You! In Jesus Name, I pray. AMEN