The highest elevation in the county of upstate NY where I grew up was almost 3400 ft. There were lots of rolling hills, valleys, streams and some mountains!
It has been close to 45 years since I moved to Indiana, and every time I visit the area where I grew up I notice changes. The first is people! Just about everyone who was a generation older has passed away.
Now, my generation is becoming the “older” generation! Many buildings look different or are gone completely…..BUT! Those mountains, hills and valleys where I would climb, walk, run and explore when I was a boy are still there AND they look just the same! The mountains especially are like old friends and they almost give off a sense of security. ( I doubt if I’m the only one who has ever experienced this type of feeling.)
Most of the roads up and down those mountains twist and turn, which you soon realize is a necessary method of safely being able to navigate, especially during the winter. But I do remember one of those roads that was almost totally straight all the way to the top because it was a very gradual grade, with only the last quarter mile or so being steep. When the leaves were off the trees, you could have a pretty good view of the road leading into the valley over a mile away.
As we go through life we sometimes feel as though we are having mountaintop experiences or we might feel like we’re in a valley. I’ve heard some say that if you’re in a “valley”, do something to get out as quickly as you can!
Let me tell you about my years in the “valley” and what I learned …….
My experience was like that long, straight road, going up, up, up that big mountain. I was on top, life was great, I was 21, just married, learning a trade, just bought a house —SUDDENLY…..we are on a straight road leading down the mountain-I can see where it’s leading…..AND I DON’T WANT TO GO! I pleaded with God, fasted, prayed….”take this disease away from my wife“ PLEASE! I don’t want to go into that valley…..but there was no stopping it…..You see, (my now late wife Laura was struggling with a motor neuron disease and other physical problems) all suddenly and at such a young age. I felt like the “sign” at the entrance to the ‘valley’ ahead should read: ENTER A SOON TO BE DISABLED YOUNG WOMAN AND HER CAREGIVER HUSBAND.
The first few years in that ‘valley’ I had a real problem…..I kept praying for God to change our situation, but I should have been praying for God to start changing me!
God did start working in me while I was waiting! I started praying with a mindset of Philippians 4:6-7 (NLT) “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”
Almost immediately I started experiencing peace from God in that valley! I can’t explain it but I now had found contentment in my life being caregiver to my disabled wife. But I know it was because I had God’s peace—and as the verse says, “that exceeds anything we can understand”!
I started learning and growing from reading and studying God’s Word—something I might not have done enjoying life on the mountain! I saw 2 Corinthians 12:9 come to life right in front of me every day! “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
Yes, a view from a mountain can be beautiful. But always remember that the God who blesses on the mountain, blesses in the valley also……probably even a lot more!
Till Next Time…..