I am on vacation. Though circumstances dictate that we can't really "go" somewhere for vacation, I am taking some time off before school starts back for Ellie and we begin the fall student ministry activities. So instead of going to church this morning, I took my Bible, iPod and a cup of coffee to my back deck and had a little quiet time.
I first read the scripture from Acts 5 that Pastor Roc would probably be preaching from today. Then I was led to Psalms where I read chapter forty four. I made a mental note that in both passages God brought deliverance from bondage, victory over enemies and provision to His people. As I was reading, Third Day's "Mountain of God" came on my iPod. I was listening to the words when I glanced up and directly in front of me was what you see in the picture above. In the trees along the tree line in my backyard was an opening "naturally formed" by the way the limbs had grown over many years. Through this opening, perfectly framed by the limbs, was the mountain known in these parts as Chimney Top. I had seen this many times from my back deck, but never from this particular perspective from a chair that "I just happened to pull up" to this particular spot and NEVER while listening to these words from Third Day:
Even though the journey's long and I know the road is hard Well, the One who's gone before me He will help me carry on After all that I've been through now I realize the truth That I must go through the valley to stand upon the mountain of God.
Now I realize this may be redundant for some, but I want to make sure that everyone who reads this understands the imagery of mountains and valleys, Biblically speaking. Scripture uses the image of valleys to speak of low points or dark points in one's life. For instance, David talks about the "valley of the shadow of death" in Psalm 23. Conversely, mountains are used in scripture to speak of high points or those times in our lives when we are in tune or in step with God. Sometimes we refer to these as mountain-top experiences. God provided a ram for Abraham's sacrifice and spared Isaac's life on a mountain. Moses encountered God and received the law on the mountain. When he came down even his countenance reflected the time he had spent with God. The song reminds us that in life we must endure the valleys (with Jesus by our side) in order to experience the mountain that God has for us.
After pondering my scripture readings, as well as, this song experience, I realized that the Holy Spirit was speaking to me. I came to a few realizations that I will share:
- I don't know why God chose this particular time for Paige's health ordeal. For whatever reason, we were not supposed to go on this vacation that we were so looking forward to. I intend to use this time off from work AND vacation to listen to Him.
- God has already seen us through and will continue to see us through this situation with Paige's health.
- Even when my first inclination in many difficult circumstances I encounter is to "handle it," God has a better plan. I need to learn to stand upon truth, wait on the Lord and let Him bring whatever I need- be it deliverance, victory, provision or other.
- I keep myself so busy that I forget the benefit of doing my quiet time/study AND going the next step of putting my thoughts and reflections down in the form of this blog. It really helps me work through my thoughts and I pray that whoever reads this blog will also be encouraged, challenged and even entertained. I will do better.