Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Hills AND The Valleys

"Then a man of God came and spoke to the king of Israel, and said, “Thus says the LORD: ‘Because the Syrians have said, “The LORD is God of the hills, but He is not God of the valleys,” therefore I will deliver all this great multitude into your hand, and you shall know that I am the LORD.’” 29 And they encamped opposite each other for seven days. So it was that on the seventh day the battle was joined; and the children of Israel killed one hundred thousand foot soldiers of the Syrians in one day."  1 Kings 20:28-29

I am certain I've done a post before about the hills and the valleys.  At the time when I'd written it, I'd just finished reading a fictional book that talked about the hills and the valleys.  It was a wonderful story, and it showed the value of faith and trust in God in all things.  The point of the book came from the 23 Psalm:

"Yea, 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 valleys are those times in our lives where it seems like we're searching or trudging.  Where we're going through a trying time as we try to reach the next mountain in our life.  The mountains would be the high points- where victory has been proclaimed, and where we can spend some time resting in His goodness before passing through another valley to get to the next mountain.  It really is a great way to look at life in pictures, and it can be encouraging to think that even though we're going through a rough time (a valley) there will always be a mountain that comes along- a high point .

But I think that sometimes we make the same mistake that Ben-Hadad made in 1 Kings.  When we're going through those valleys of life, we think that God isn't there with us- that we have to get to the mountains in order to find Him.  We think that because we're going through a rough time, that maybe God is teaching us something, and is distant like the next mountain seems to be.  That's simply not true.  God is the God of both the mountains AND the valleys.  I think all too often we take a step back from God when we're traveling a valley because we're so focused on what we're going through.  And yet, if we would only shift our focus to Him, our journey would not seem so difficult after all.

God decimated the Syrian army because they did not believe that He was God of the valleys as well as the mountains.  Think about that.  Thank God for the cross and for the mercy of Jesus, or every single one of us could be eligible to be wiped out for thinking that God has left us alone for a time.  Now, there are certainly times when God is just as a father is, and He will let us make that wrong turn and make wrong choices, but He doesn't step away from us and stop caring for a time.  He is always there, He is just waiting for US to choose Him instead of ourselves.  He doesn't go away when we're going through a valley, waiting for us on the other side of our trial.  He is our source and our supply to get through that valley. 

"God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble."  Psalm 46:1

He is always present- always there.  Sometimes we're just forgetful of that.  We get so focused on navigating the troubles of the valley, when instead, we should focus on Him to get us through.  He is the God of both the low times and the high times- and we should praise Him during both times in our life.  He gets praise whether we win, lose, cry or cheer.  When we praise Him in the low times, something really cool happens.  Not only are we being obedient in the act of praising God, but we're also bolstering our own spirits.  We're becoming encouraged simply through the act of praise to God the Father. (I think that's a topic for another post, another time!)

God is God no matter where life takes us.  When all seems lost and in dire straights because we've made a wrong turn, we don't have to wait for a high point to turn to Him for help.  We can do it at anytime, because He IS the God of the mountains AND the God of the valleys.  He is God at all times and in all things, and we can rely on that as an ever-present source when we are in trouble.  Sometimes we just need to stop and recognize that God is God, and then we will experience everything we need to journey through the valley.

"Be still, and know that I am God;"  Psalm 46:10

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