Psalm 119:9

Psalm 119:9 - How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to Your word.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Faith in the Valley

"Saline Valley" by Kirk Kittell on Flickr

Lots of times, I think we Christians have a tendency to, how shall I say it, cling to
our "mountaintop experiences" and despair when those lofty feelings leave and
we find ourselves right smack dab in the middle of everyday life, with all its cares
and, often, just plain blandness. We may wonder how in the world God can use
us in such an ordinary and sometimes dark place.

  I have read before in the My Utmost for His Highest devotional that God will let us
come up to the mountaintop for refreshment and strengthening, and also for instruction,
(think Moses and Mt. Sinai) but we must go down to the valley in order to serve Him.
What do we do, then, when He sends us into that shadowy place, amongst the
principalities and powers of the air? Howsa bout this...

         "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
          I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your
          staff, they comfort me." - Psalm 23:4


         "The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent."
           - Exodus 14:14

There have been a few times when I felt overwhelmed and ready to despair, and
I suddenly realized that all I had to do was what James chapter one says:

         "Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,
          for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.
          And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and
          complete, lacking in nothing." - James 1:2-4

This goes pretty much hand in hand with what I talked about in my "Thankful for
Fleas?" post. So what's different about this one, you ask? Well, the fleas post was
about giving thanks when you meet various calamities and/or persecution, whereas
what I'm trying to do here is talk about how to trust in Him when we're just tired of
the same old everyday stuff. I notice that, in the passage from James above, He says
"trials of various kinds". Really, it's like pain. You know, like how there's very sharp,
shooting pain, and you can also experience very dull and heavy pain, but  they both
hurt!! I believe that the testing of our faith is very much like that. The biggest comfort
is that God works everything together for our good! (No, you can't quote me on that,
but you can quote the Bible on it!)
  I remember reading somewhere that when God is silent, you should not turn away
from Him, but rather seek Him even more earnestly.

         "Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands,
          you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded."
          - James 4:8

Give him no rest, keep drawing near to him through prayer and meditating on His
word. But don't forget, we aren't supposed to just lie around, waiting for him to take
it all away, but rather to seek Him so that He would give us the faith to carry on!

         "And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will
          reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do
          good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of
          faith." - Galatians 6:9-10

And finally,

         "Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses,
           let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely,
           and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking
           to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that
           was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is
           seated at the right hand of the throne of God."
           - Hebrews 12:1-2

Cling to Christ, people!