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.
What are ways to encourage someone? What words have the same meaning as courage? Who has encouraged you the most?
Sadness puts a damper on courage, so how do we throw splashes of light into the dark paths others are made to travel?
What uncertainty have you faced lately? Was it job related? Family related? Health issues? The lack of funds for the extras in life?
What are the patterns in life that seem to come about because of things people do?
Why do some people seem to become a wanderer through life, drifting and never settling into a straight course?
My dad is forgetting pieces of the past. It makes me want to cry.
Day before yesterday, I went to Mom and Dad’s house to help one of my brothers repair an electrical outlet on the screen porch. When the project was finished, I asked Mom if there any other problem.
Reluctantly, she admitted a light switch required some attention. She had purchased a new switch, but when Dad couldn’t recall how to wire it, she put it in a drawer—not wanting to bother anyone. I insisted it was no bother and quickly replaced it. I told her to tell me when things need fixing, because I know Dad can no longer do household repairs.
Whenever I stop in at their house, even after just a couple days, I see differences in my dad. He tries to tell old stories from the past, but he struggles with the details. He can no longer paint pictures and has no desire to do so. And when Dad spends fifteen minutes telling me that he takes the garden hose and waters the boundaries of their huge lot—it is his way of reporting his worth. The sprinklers won’t reach the entire fence line, so he has a very important job to do every day. Mom says he’s just watering weeds, and she’d rather they didn’t grow amongst her plants. But we both know it doesn’t really matter what he sprinkles with the water hose. It makes him feel needed.
I know my mother is weary with the sleepless nights when Dad repeats things—which makes no sense to us—like taking all the covers and sheets off his bed. And then he stands quietly, bewildered in the dark, until Mom puts it all back together. Of course, he doesn’t remember it in the morning or he thinks someone else did it—not him.
It would be wonderful if we could always help one another and fix all the things that go wrong, whether physical or mental.
But we, who are believers in God’s mercy, know that a better time is coming. God will correct what this earthly life dumps on us. Heaven will be wonderful.
Within Heaven’s glory, all things will be new.
My Dad won’t struggle with his memory. He won’t have that unsure little-boy expression in his blue eyes. Tears will be wiped away the moment we leave this earth and step into the presence of God.
But here on earth people cry when things affect them.
Is it shocking to say … welcome the tears? Even Jesus wept as emotions overwhelmed him. Crying helps wash away some of the pain, like a waterfall spilling over debris-hidden rocks. The rush of the water pushes against the debris and breaks it up so that the beautiful form of the mountain stream is revealed. When a person knows God, the human heart can be restored, composure returns, and courage can blossom. Hope for the future can settle into place when weeping dies away.
“God has given us both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can take a new courage, for we can hold onto his promise with confidence. This confidence is like a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain of heaven into God’s inner sanctuary.” Hebrews 6: 18-19 NLT
Thank you for stopping by and reading this blog. I hope it has given you some insight and comfort as daily events knock and demand attention. Please, scroll down and leave your comments. Have you had a good cry lately? Did it help or make things worse?
© Karen Campbell Prough 2013
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