In the valley
Times can turn out to surprise us. They can lead us to broad meadows, a flowered beauty, or raise us to the top of mountainous splendor. Yet there are days that unexpectedly reach out to us and guide us into a valley shadowed by uncertainty, frailty, or sorrow. One just never knows what the morrow will bring.
A common comment I have heard this winter season is about how unique our weather has been. The cold, the warm, and again frigid temperatures have led to snowy blankets coated with icy coverings. Those gray rainy days of winter have brought treacherous slippery footings for man and beast.
Broken bones, sprains, and painful injuries have emerged and have taken their toll on several of my acquaintances and friends. Along with injuries comes dependence on the skills, resources, kindness, and tenderness of others. With the unexpected situations we encounter, we might perceive a shadowy vale in which to walk.
Though we tend to reject such experiences due to the negatives that face us, we can also learn valuable lessons.
I had such an experience recently. My situation commenced years ago. With time it became clear that I had to depend on medical assistance to heal up from my malady. I took steps to find the help I needed. The forecasts and testimonies of others who had received the help I sought led to the anticipation of a simple recovery and restoration. So I continued on the path I had begun with hope in my heart, secure in knowing that the Lord was with me.
My procedure completed, I learned of a complication that caused me to have six weeks extra added to the normally quick recovery for which I had hoped. I accepted the consequence, but with each postoperative day, the six weeks started to look longer and longer.
Evidently, this was a valley in my life that required a greater time of dependence. As I felt the joy in my spirit beginning to wane, my prayer became “Lord, I need you to lift my spirits.” Not only was I dependent on physicians, nurses, relatives and friends, but I was truly dependent on my Heavenly Father to reach deep into my heart and to encourage me.
You might ask, did He? And how did He do it? Yes, He encouraged me. How? Just as friends communicate to lift each other’s spirits, so the Lord spoke through His Word. One verse He brought to my mind was Isaiah 41:10, which says, “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” Another verse was Psalm 27:14, “Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.”
Many other verses came to mind, and did serve to raise me up in the low spots of the valley I occupied. How wonderful to have God’s Word in one’s heart and to draw strength from them as needed!
Medical personnel, relatives, friends, and neighbors show their skills, kindness, and love in times like this. But when one needs inner power to work in one’s life, it is the Word of God that cannot be matched. Psalm 71:3 says, “Be thou my strong habitation, whereunto I may continually resort: thou hast given commandment to save me; for thou art my rock and my fortress.”
If you should find yourself in a valley, be sure to resort to the one sure habitation for life – the Lord Himself.