Thursday, June 13, 2013

Don't Waste Your Mountain Top Time

Want to know something great about dealing with a terminal illness in your immediate family? God is always willing to teach us new facets of His truths. Amazing! No, seriously….this AMAZES me! Would I wish this journey on any of you? Absolutely not. Do I wish for each of you to have the privilege of experiencing God’s power and faithfulness at the depths that we have? Absolutely so! Which ...brings me to one of my two points today.

Point One is so obvious and has been “preached” to me my whole life. Ready? “We cannot truly appreciate the mountain tops in life without walking through the valleys.” Have you ever heard this saying? Maybe it is a Baptist church saying, or maybe it is a Reynolds family saying, but I know I have heard this repeatedly.

Translation: We can’t know just how good we have it until we’ve experienced some struggle in life. It’s a valid point. It rings true. My soul is in agreement with this.

I’d like to take it a step further and add another point that God has been teaching me this year. Are you ready? Here goes…….Point Two: “The hard work is done while on the mountain top.”

Hmmmmm, we don’t often think of mountain tops as hard work, right? That’s the time when we assume we are supposed to soak it in, reap the rewards of the climb, rest and praise God for the scenery, rejoicing in how far we have come. I’m not saying this is wrong, I am saying that there is also a lesson that mountain top time is the time to dig deeper into God’s Word.

Life is hard. It isn’t fair and bad things happen to good people. We are all either in the middle of a valley; just coming out of a valley or getting ready to enter a valley. That’s just how life works. Struggles are going to be present in everyone’s life. It’s part of the whole living-in-a-fallen-and-sin-filled-world gig. So if we can all agree that life will cycle through valleys and mountain peaks; can you pause with me and consider…. “When would be the best time to saturate our minds and hearts with the deep truths of God’s character? The truths that are presented in His Word?”

These truths of WHO HE IS are what our family has clung to over the past 16 months. He is faithful (Lamentations 3:23). He is good (Psalm 119:68). As our Teacher, He has clothed us as holy and beloved and has instructed us to put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering and love (Colossians 3:12). He is our Redeemer (Psalm 107:2). He is holy (1 Peter 1:16). He is love (1 John 4:19). He is a well spring of Living Water (Jeremiah 2:13). His Spirit bears fruit in our lives (Galatians 5:22). My list could go on and on and on. My point is that by committing Scripture to memory and spending time daily in our Bibles during the mountain top times, we can each have a firm foundation to stand on during the valley floor of quicksand.

Notice I don’t list any truths about “God not giving us more than we can handle”. That’s because this isn’t a Biblical truth! It is a saying we often hear people say, a cliché that “feels good” but misrepresents reality. I have never read in my Bible that God will not give me more than I can handle. I have read that temptation does not come from Him. I have read that He is powerful and that His power is made perfect in my weakness. I have read over and over in the pages of His Word that He is all I need, even thru the hard times…..He is sufficient, He is enough, He will never leave my side and He is worthy of praise. Those are truths that have been good to know during the months in this seemingly never-ending valley!

While God welcomes a heart turning to Him at any point in our journey, it is much easier on the journeyman if the foundation of Who He is and what He will do is already buried deep within our hearts when the harshness and darkness of the valley days come.

Jeremiah 17:8 “They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”