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"Mountains & Valleys"
by Terri Jenkin
Are “mountains” when we are high with excitement and expectation, or are they the challenges we face? Are the “valleys” when we are low and can't see our way out, or are they the times when all is calm beside the still waters? Either way you look at it, God wants us to have the victory.
Being from Montana, I know that between each mountain range there is a valley. I think of the explorers who climbed that first mountain; the relief they felt when they reached the peak and then descended into a pleasant meadow with sufficient grass and water, only to face another mountain ahead.
Some look at challenges with excitement and great expectation for what God is going to do. For others, the challenges stop us in our tracks because our strength wanes and the peak seems insurmountable.
Last month I asked for your thoughts on how God fulfills His joy in us. Do mountains and valleys have a part in our experiencing His joy?
Right before Christmas, our son-in-law’s stepmother passed away after a battle with cancer. Dan returned from Iraq, met up with Debby and the kids in Germany, and flew to Florida. God provided, and I flew down for a weekend to see all four of our grandchildren—an exciting mountain experience. When I returned home, I was down (oops, am I suppose to admit that?). Couldn’t I just pull myself up by the boot straps (an old western adage) and snap out of it? No, but the Holy Spirit through God’s Word could: “For the LORD God is a sun and shield; The LORD will give grace and glory; No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly. O LORD of hosts, blessed is the man who trusts in You!” (Ps 84:11-12) I was able to refocus just as David did in Psalm 13: from v. 1 “How long will thou forget me . . .” to vv. 5 & 6 “But I have trusted in thy mercy; my heart shall rejoice in thy salvation. I will sing unto the Lord, because He hath dealt bountifully with me.”
I saw with more clarity how God fulfills His joy in us. He wants our joy to be full, but when circumstances seem contrary to that, He allows us to experience Him. He renews us with His Spirit. Yes, He may change our circumstances, but then again, He may not. In the end the choice was mine. I choose to thank Him, praise Him, and live joyfully in His presence!