Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Out of the valley {filling in the gaps}

Have you ever travelled through a valley?  It can be quite a daunting journey, especially in gloomy weather.  We once travelled through the Highlands of Scotland, to get to the Hebrides, and it was a dreech day. Those valleys seemed never-ending, and the journey seemed even darker at those points.  The mountains rose beside us, making us feel very tiny and vulnerable.  It was much better when the cloud lifted, and we got into more open roads.

Often in scripture, valleys are points and references to doom and gloom.  Battles would happen in a valley, because it was a place where one side was vulnerable, and easily attacked.

We also have the well known verse in Psalm 23.

"Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death"

It's a valley that holds the shadow of death itself.  You can't get much darker than that.

The "mountains" of our circumstances can tower over us, and make us feel very, very small.

It can feel that we are wading through a darkness that is never going to pass.

There is depression, anxiety, doubt, and fear.  Many, many women have a tendency to think of ourselves in a low way - we see our negatives, our failings and our faults. Like we find in The Pilgrim's Progress, we fall into slough of despond. Overwhelmed by our circumstances.

When we get into that place, it is an obstacle to being in a place of blessing from the Lord. We're stuck in the valley, far from the mountain top where He longs to encourage and bless.

Our sin can make us feel like we are in the valley.  Whether it's the sin you feel, because you are a sinner who has never trusted in the Lord for salvation, or if you are a child of God who is acutely aware of their sinful nature daily battling with the Spirit.

There are many things happening in the world today that make us feel like we are in a valley - the valley of death itself.  So much fighting, death, pain, and hurt.  It aches my heart to hear of things that are happening around the world, and even closer to home.  It can make us feel very low.

Last Lord's Day Robert preached from Isaiah 40. He read a verse that I have heard many times before, as well as heard it sung as part of Handel's "Messiah".

"Every valley shall be exalted"

I had never really about what it really SAID.

The valleys will be "exalted".  Well, we know what a valley is - it's that low point, between the hills or mountains.  What about "exalted"?  It means to be "lifted up".

So, if valleys are going to be lifted up, it means they are gone - they are brought up to the same level as the mountain top.

That's exactly where the Lord wants us to be - in that place where He came to be that blest Saviour and comforter to us.

To be there with Him, we need to lift ourselves out of that valley.

 See what else Isaiah says?

"Prepare ye the way of the Lord"

Prepare YE.

We cannot slip down into that valley - the valley of despair and misery - and just sit comfortably, waiting to be air-lifted out. The air-rescue don't know that someone needs to be rescued if they don't put in some effort to alert the rescuers.  We need to exalt those valleys, and claw our way out to the Lord.  If we come to the Lord, He will come to us.

We need to cry out to the Lord, and make our way to Him.

The Lord came to bring us out of those valleys.  He came to save and to BLESS.  He wants to bless, but until we prepare the way, it won't happen.

We need to turn our back on the valley - turn away from those things that would make us doubt and despair - and lift our eyes UP to the one who can bless and encourage us.  Who will fill us with His love and grace.

It is no passive experience.

  "Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee; in whose heart are the ways of them. 
  Who passing through the valley of Baca make it a well; the rain also filleth the pools.
They go from strength to strength"
Psalm 84:5-7

This Psalm shows us the way out of the valley - placing our strength in Him.  Making our way one that is in HIS ways.  We pass THROUGH the valley - and it is filled with water and rain - the blessings of God.  We GO from strength to strength.

We don't sit, huddled on the valley floor, silently waiting in vain hope to be refreshed and lifted up.


IN Him.


Passing THROUGH.

GO from strength to strength.

There is action required, by us.

The Psalms are filled with things that the write "will" do, and the resulting blessing that ensues.

We need to DO.  We need to be a woman who says "I will".

"I will rejoice"

"I will praise"

"I will be glad"

"I will sing"

"I will bless the LOrd"

"I will be satisfied"

"I will love thee"

"I will trust"

"I will call"

"I will declare"

"I will pay my vows"

"I will fear no evil"

"I will walk"...

I could go on - that was only up to Psalm 26, out of 145 "I wills" in the Psalms alone!

Valley experiences are both real and no respecter of persons.  They happen to us all.

Women who feel they are failing in their parenting skills.

Women who doubt they are doing the right thing in the choices they make.

Women who look around and see others, then fall foul to the comparison bug.

Women who have regrets and remorse for sin, which they fear is too great to allow them to have fellowship with their Saviour.

We cannot allow these valley moments to keep us from blessing.

Prepare ye the way of the Lord.

Come to the Lord, with a heart empty, ready to be filled.

Turn your back on your circumstances, doubts and fears, and lift it up to a place of communion with the one who can fill the valley like a well, with waters of blessing.

God is still great.  God is still good.  His ways are still perfect.  He is still able to do exceeding abundantly above all we can ask or think.

We only need to remove that obstacle to blessing, and climb out of the valley, and level it with the mountaintop.

Don't be discouraged, sisters.  The Lord has come - He is our Saviour still - He LONGS to bless.

Exalt your valley.

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