2 MAY 2021 WALKING THROUGH THE VALLEYS OF LIFE Life is a journey. There are often seasons when the road is smooth, and the sun is shining brightly. There are other days that the skies are gloomy with darkened clouds and violent storms. At times the road becomes steep and rocky and filled with gullies and treacherous ravines. It is then that we need to especially trust and follow our Heavenly Father as He guides us through these difficult times. The psalmist understood a truth that is as vital for the Christian today as in the days of old. He wrote, “For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations” Psalm 100:5. To believe that God is good all the time and that His mercy and truth will always be there to lift and undergird provides a solid foundation to the believer that will enable him to endure the storm without being overwhelmed or vanquished. The storehouse of God’s providence is. always overflowing with provisions for all of the situations and needs in life. It is limitless both in its wealth and variety, and God is always willing to supply. Philippians 4:19 reads, “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” There is no better place to go for strength, comfort, and joy than to God who has a bountiful supply and an infinite understanding of our needs and how to best fill them. “For the knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust” Psalm 103:14. He sees our needs, our sorrows, our pain, our disappointments, and reaches down to uphold and overshadow us with His unfailing love and tender mercy. There are days in the Christian journey when our strength begins to waver. Sometimes both physical and emotional pain becomes difficult to bear. There are times the responsibilities of life almost over- whelm us. There are other situations where disappointments, grief, and burdens make us question if we can continue to move forward. It is in times like these that the child of God must look to his Father in Heaven for the strength to press onward. Jesus, while He was here on earth, left the crowds, and even his disciples, and sought His Father’s strength and will. We read in Psalm 121:2 “My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.” The Apostle Paul wrote, “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore, I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in dis- tresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong” 2 Corinthians 12:9-10. It is not a sign of weakness to accept strength from the Lord; rather, it is a sign of a trusting and dependent heart. Of our own humanity, we will not have the strength to endure until the end. Amid this journey through life, the Christian finds there are seasons of grief or distress. There can be many causes or situations that contribute to these challenging times. Loved ones can, and do, make choices to walk away from the Lord and His way. Illnesses, at times terminal, strike without reason or convenience. Wrong financial decisions and pressures can cause untold heartaches. Family circles are broken in ways that are both sudden and tragic. In the midst of these crises, frail humans must learn to walk amid new pressures and unforeseen challenges. It is in times like these that the comfort of the Holy Father becomes the overshadowing con- solation that can help to quiet the raging storms. In the beautiful and comforting Psalm, David writes, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me” Psalm 23:4. Oh, the comfort and strength that comes from the deep understanding that the Almighty God will be with us as we walk through the valley. His rod and staff will sustain, support, and be there as a rock to lean upon and as a resting place from un- relenting questions and changes. He does not ask us to dwell in the valley; rather, He has promised to hold our hands as we journey through the valley. Jesus Himself comforts us with the following words, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” John 14:27. To have the peace of God that comes from the understanding that He is good, that He will give light one step at a time, that He restoreth our souls, and that in His peace there can be both a resignation and acceptance is far more soothing and comforting than living in the uncertainty of doubts, fears, and endless questions. As we accept the strength and comfort of God in the valleys of the journey, there is yet another dimension to our lives that God desires to give to His children. This is beyond the resignation and acceptance of His will. This added gift and blessing is the quiet joy that can fill the heart of the true believer and can overflow to others in a gentle witness of the power of the Father. This joy is neither giddiness nor a loud expression but a quiet peace and hope that comes from the firm belief that, “It is of the LORD’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness” Lamentations 3:22-23. This joy comes from the faith that this life is not the end of all things and an understanding that “weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning” Psalm 30:5. This joy is not happiness for the pain; instead, it is a joy that comes from the deep faith of knowing that God is daily by our side. The prophet Habakkuk said it so well. “Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The LORD God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds’ feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places” Habakkuk 3:17-19. May the God of all strength, comfort, and joy continue to sustain us throughout our entire journey. May He give vision, hope, and faith to guide us to that eternal home where our souls can be forever at rest in His eternal love. Courtesy of Gospel Publishers, Moundridge Kansas
Conservative Australian Anabaptist Mennonites
Weekly Truth