hopeless

A VALLEY

WHAT IS A VALLEY?

A valley can be a rock-filled chasm, a gloomy canyon, a deep gouge, or a rugged gully. In nicer terms, it might be a grass-swept dell or a lush basin. Ahh! Just the place to lay down and nap.

But what is meant when people indicate they’ve reached a valley?

If it’s a smiling hiker stating they’ve reached a valley, other people surmise they’ve just descended from gorgeous heights, to walk on flat land between mountain slopes. There might even be a cool stream weaving its way through the length of a lush, green basin.

But what if the person is not a smiling hiker or healthy explorer? What if the valley is actually circumstances in their life?

Those types of valleys can be gloomy and long, especially if someone is alone or even feels there is no one who understands. Health issues can create a scary valley, which many must walk through. All they can do is peer upwards—but not climb away from problems. Their eyes observe what looks like strong people standing on top of mountain peaks or hiking toward glorious summits.

The best of circumstances might seem to reflect off other people—giving them a surreal appearance of never-ending health, powerful strength, and awesome abilities … even if it isn’t true.

While hiking the trail of life, we humans often want to turn around. But then, hopefully, we regain courage and push toward the summits. But is that always the way it goes? No.

Many lag behind, struggling to climb out of steep valleys, while using the wrong path. Are their loads too heavy to carry? Are their backs bowed—indicating a weakening of resolve? Will they slip and tumble backwards, while others continue to watch?

A willingness to help, may mean removing loaded backpacks, ignoring pride, and getting down to the other hiker’s level. By reaching, someone might be able to grip their wrist and pull them up. Yes, the rescuer might meet a confused gaze—a look asking why anyone would care? But, then again, lonely people just might recognize God’s love in action.

That’s all that matters. And, of course, the dazed hiker may dust themselves off and just hike away, never acknowledging a helpful gesture. But the lightness in a helper’s heart will tell them … God is grinning.

Yes, that’s what was implied! God might have a grin on his face!

Perhaps, He takes delight in puzzled expressions, when loving people try to help others, and it just doesn’t work out. He knows all about rejection and about the inner sadness it can create. But, God also knows everyone’s heart, and he loves the fact that someone is willing to face rejection. It shows how far someone is going to follow Him. And only He knows who might be pulled out of a valley …  if just one person steps forward.

Karen

 

Copyright (c) Karen Campbell Prough 2017

 

NOT THE SPIRIT OF FEAR

FEAR ATTACKS

One morning I took a break from my writing, walked out back, and was surprised to see a show of aggression taking place on my wood fence.

One pathetic, ugly opossum clung to the top of the fence, confused, and pursued by a bigger, uglier bully—with lots of sharp teeth. Marsupial number one was apparently trying to figure out to escape. But when he endeavored to get away, the mean, toothy adversary would resume stalking him and inching ever closer. If he sat still, the antagonist would hiss dreadful threats and mocking intimidations. It was too high to jump from the fence to safety. And on one side of the fence there stood a big, dangerous-looking human—staring at him.

This display of strange behavior went on for quite awhile. The threatened opossum acted hopeless. He wobbled on his perch, turned, gazed at the ground, tried unsuccessfully to retreat, and showed how befuddled he had become.

How like humans.

We sometimes become stuck in a situation that we don’t like—one that makes us freeze in alarm. There seems to be no way out. Life runs aground and tosses us out on a deserted island. There’s no help riding to our rescue and no beautiful sailboat on the horizon.

We can’t run. We dare not turn back and risk attack from the enemy or those who don’t care about us. We cannot abandon our tiny, safe island and jump into unknown depths. Everything looks dismal. Life withers. We are going to fall or fail. There’s seems to be no hope presenting itself.

Satan appears to gloat, inch forward, bare his razor-sharp teeth, and taunt us. He doesn’t want us to find help. He binds us with dread. We turn in circles, uncertain, terrified, upset, and perplexed.

Sound familiar?

But there are scriptures to remember when caught between circumstances and dilemmas that Satan takes delight in pushing upon us. He wants us to be afraid. He wants to intimidate us, make us think our footing will slip, and that we will fail.

“Be not afraid of sudden fear, neither of the desolation of the wicked, when it cometh. For the Lord shall be thy confidence, and shall keep thy foot from being taken.” Proverbs 3:25, 26 KJV.

The second one tells we can be far away from the oppression. We can believe in safety, as it comes from God. “In righteousness shalt thou be established: thou shalt be far from oppression; for thou shalt not fear; and from terror; for it shall not come near thee.” Isaiah 54:14 KJV

And one final scripture says, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7 KJV

Have you faced the oppressor? Have you feared that your feet would slip? Please, scroll downward to leave a comment.

Represented by Linda S. Glaz at
Finding the Extraordinary God in our Ordinary Lives