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Return to your rest, my soul, for the LORD has been good to you. Psalm 116:7
I remember it like it was yesterday. A precious lady sat in my living room and whispered these words to me: "You are experiencing the mountain top with God right now. Enjoy it, soak it up as much as you can. There will be a day when you will be in the valley. When you are, look back on this time and remember how faithful God is."
She spoke those words to me four 1/2 years ago. Little did I know the wisdom she was sharing with my younger heart.
Friends, if you are a Christian, you have probably had some amazing mountain top experiences with God at some point or another. There is nothing like it. Everything seems like it's rimmed with gold and silver. Life seems incredibly full of wonder and joy.
Then, some time passes. Life happens. People hurt us. People leave us. The weight comes back. Our bodies age. Children leave. Finances change. Old strongholds come back with a vengeance.
Oh, hello there valley.
Let me tell you a secret treasure that I discovered in the valley....
God is still as close as ever.
He never left.
Nothing about Him has changed. NOTHING.
We tend to think we are alone. Or He has forgotten us.
Oh, but just the contrary. He is ever so close.
Without the valley, we would not be able to cling tightly to the hem of His cloak. The valley makes us desperate for Him. As our souls were created to long for Him, they long. We pant for a taste of the Living Water of His Word. Living day by breathless day dependent on a glimpse of His goodness.
The mountain top is good but we don't cling to Him like we do in the valley. We soar on the mountain top. But, in the valley we hold on tight to His word and His truth and we never let it leave our sight.
These times grow us by leaps and bounds. They equip our hearts for a desire for Him, and not what He can give us. They chisel out anything that gets in the way of a heart devoted to Him and Him alone.
We can choose to rest as the chiseling takes place, or we can fight it and pull away from Him in the valley.
This reminds me of when my daughter had a loose tooth. That bloody tooth was dangling from her little slobbery mouth. I told her that one little pull and the tooth would be out and her new beautiful permanent tooth would come in. She resisted stubbornly, and would run when we tried to pull her tooth. Little did she know that the one second of pain would lead to being free from that silly looking tooth.
We do the same at times. We pull away from Him when things are not going well. We resist the pain and try to escape to the nearest exit. We question His faithfulness. And even doubt His love for us.
If we could only remember His faithfulness in these times.
The Israelites in the Old Testament constantly forgot God's faithfulness. They complained. They turned their back on God. They constantly questioned His existence.
If they would only have remembered what God had already done for them. How He had rescued them from slavery and oppression. How He had parted the waters for them to go through to escape the enemy.
So many miracles. Yet, no recollection.
God was constantly telling them to remember.
Then take care lest you forget the Lord, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. Deuteronomy 6:12
And you shall remember the whole way that the Lord your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not. Deuteronomy 8:2
We are so prone to forget, sweet friends. So prone to dwell on our circumstances instead of His faithfulness.
Perhaps our valleys would be much sweeter if we remembered.
Maybe this is why Paul reminds us in Philippians 4:8 "And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise."
How quickly we forget God, yet He never ever forgets us.
“Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you. Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are continually before me." Isaiah 49:15-16
Maybe your valley has been a long and excruciating one. Maybe it's just too much to try to remember God's faithfulness after being so long in the valley.
Oh, friend. I urge you to remember. Recall. Look back on His faithfulness.
That same faithful God is still being faithful. He has not stopped being faithful.
I do believe He takes us through the valley to draw us closer. It is something we cannot wrap our brains around until we get to our home in Heaven. But, we can rest in that valley and recall His great and many miracles. The times when we were soaring on the mountain with Him.
These recollections refuel us and direct our hearts back on the path of believing and trusting in His plan.
For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11
There is a promised land coming. He gives us His Word.
I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them. Isaiah 42:16