November 10, 2010

Peaks and Valleys: Both Test Souls

I know that at some point in the near future things will get back to normal (whatever that is). Until then my family and I will need to get to tomorrow by putting one foot in front of the other in a form of locomotion that keeps us moving forward. Life has brought me to my knees in more ways than one. It has physically brought this once proud boy down and it has brought me to my knees in prayer. I have nowhere else to turn in this situation. God has made me totally dependant on Him. In this situation there is no substitute for Him, only He will do.

Rivers of living water will not run on mountain tops at the peak of our lives and at the peak of our performances. They do not run where all can see us in the glory that God has given us. Water runs in the valleys at the lower points in our lives. It is this water in these valleys that sustain lives. We must often scale a mountain just to find some of those valleys. It is in these valleys where we build our strength to help us carry on when we begin to climb the next mountain.

It is in the bottoms of the valleys where we see the beauty of the wildflower and the gentle wind blown grasses of summer. It is overlooking the valley or in the valley where we see the mother nursing the newborns and new creation of life in the springtime.

It is in our low points in the valley that we find the things that we need to persevere in our toughest endeavours. Living water and the grains and fruits that produce the bread of life. It is in the bowed over position of our labor in these valleys and in the sweat of our toil that we reap the reward of our labor and Christ's. It is the head that is bowed in sadness and tears that will again be lifted to rejoice in the sweet victory of Jesus Christ.

We cannot expect to remain at exalted peaks or in the lulls of our valleys in this life but to experience a fluctuation of intermittent peaks and valleys. We cannot be expected to stand on mountains forever because there is nothing there to nourish us but neither can we remain in the valleys. Staying in either place too long stagnates and makes us complacent or kills us spiritually. We learn perseverance by a constant testing of our character. Highs and lows, highs and lows. This requires that we occasionally walk through valleys to reach the other mountains we need to scale in our life. As we all know, both the valleys and mountains require exertions and effort. Occasionally, they cause hardships, skinned up knees and tears. Some mountains are higher than others and some valleys lower than other valleys. Sooner of later you will be required to walk through your lowest valley but what you gain on your way through may sustain you on the trek up to your highest mountain peak.

But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel. Hebrews 12:22-24

Psalm 65

For the director of music. A psalm of David. A song.

(1) Praise awaits you, our God, in Zion;
to you our vows will be fulfilled.

(2) You who answer prayer,
to you all people will come.

(3) When we were overwhelmed by sins,
you forgave our transgressions.

(4) Blessed are those you choose
and bring near to live in your courts!
We are filled with the good things of your house,
of your holy temple.

(5) You answer us with awesome and righteous deeds,
God our Savior,
the hope of all the ends of the earth
and of the farthest seas,

(6) who formed the mountains by your power,
having armed yourself with strength,

(7) who stilled the roaring of the seas,
the roaring of their waves,
and the turmoil of the nations.

(8) The whole earth is filled with awe at your wonders;
where morning dawns, where evening fades,
you call forth songs of joy.

(9) You care for the land and water it;
you enrich it abundantly.
The streams of God are filled with water
to provide the people with grain,
for so you have ordained it.

(10) You drench its furrows and level its ridges;
you soften it with showers and bless its crops.

(11) You crown the year with your bounty,
and your carts overflow with abundance.

(12) The grasslands of the wilderness overflow;
the hills are clothed with gladness.

(13) The meadows are covered with flocks
and the valleys are mantled with grain;
they shout for joy and sing.

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