I’ve learned more through the valleys of life than I have from the mountain peaks. For me, one of the big lessons has been that God is very present, even when we’re completely unaware of Him; He’s present.
When He seems distant, it’s we who have made Him so. We can keep Him at arms length, or separated from our lives by great distances, or beckon Him near by drawing near to Him.
To the homeless who wander the streets, the convict, the gangster, and the child–to young and old, to saint and sinner, the Lord gives the same invitation:
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls–Matthew 11:28-29.
I’ve learned that He’s always available. In the mountain tops, He’s with us, and in the valleys, He’s with us.
One can be present, yet not near. It’s true. For instance, you and I can sit in the same room, but remain emotionally distant. The Lord is constantly present, not constantly near.
Whether He is near to me depends upon me, not my circumstances. And whether He’s near to you depends on you, not what you’re going through. He may feel distant, but this doesn’t mean He’s not present.
In a sea of anxiety, fear, depression or grief, the Lord often seems to be hundreds of miles away. But does this mean that He’s left us? Certainly not.
He is present.
Even in troubled seas of life, when it looks like there’s no way to survive the storm, He is present. Even when your heart feels like it’s breaking and you wonder, God where are you? He is present.
The Lord doesn’t offer us personalized explanations for why certain times in life are so troubled and painful. But, as a Father coaxes His children into His arms, He invites all to come to Him and to have the heaviness of suffering lifted from our shoulders–He extends His love. He beckons to the one weighed down by trouble, “Come to Me, I will give you rest. In Me, you will find rest for your souls.”
In the valleys, I learned to reach out with my heart to Him. In sorrow, I discovered that even when overwhelmed with grief, when I felt nothing but loss, He was with me. It was in moments of weakness, not in times of jubilation, that I learned to depend upon Him, so that I could stand with Him on the mountain.
There’s one more lesson that I learned from being in the valley. In the difficult places, I discovered how to walk closely with the Lord.
Have you thought about what an incredible invitation God gives us each day? He says, “Come to me…” And “Draw near to Me…” The tense of these words are present on-going. So, it’s as if He is saying to you now, Come to Me and keep coming to Me. Draw near to Me and keep drawing near to Me.
His is a never ending invitation to daily connect deeply with Him and to daily enter into His healing love. What a gift!
If all around seems hopeless, then you’re in the valley that I’ve spoken of here and you have especially great need of the Lord.
He is present.
It might not seem like it’s possible, but better days will come, days when clouds of trouble have blown away and the crystal clear sky is the bluest blue that you’ve ever seen. When life is better, take what you learned in the valley and put it to use on the mountain.
Thou my everlasting portion,
More than friend or life to me,
All along my pilgrim journey,
Savior, let me walk with Thee
Lyrics from the Hymn, Close to Thee by Frances J. Crosby, 1874
Draw near to the Lord all who are on the mountains. Draw near to the Lord all who are in the valleys. In Him, there’s rest for your souls.
James 4:8; Jeremiah 29:12-13; Matthew 11:28-29
Pamela Koefoed, http://www.pamelakoefoed.com