“I lift up my eyes to the hills– where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip– he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD watches over you– the LORD is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD will keep you from all harm– he will watch over your life; the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.”
This chapter has been my very lifeblood this weekend, as I’ve muddled through stormy marshes of every kind. I’ve been busy beyond my craziest nightmares, and while some of what I’ve been doing has been very fun and a blessing from God, there has been so much constantly going on that I haven’t been able to stop, take a breath, and appreciate it. I am mentally and physically more drained than I ever remember being, hurting for a friend of mine, praying over another who’s having both health problems and problems at work, missing my friends that seem so far away, and now caring for a horse that hurt himself out in the field. Again.
Needless to say, there’s been a lot going on and I haven’t had any time. But even in this swirling, twisting, turning, painful mess of circumstances I’ve found myself in, God has held my heart. His arms that hold the universe have been wrapped around me in a warm embrace, and I’ve felt Him moving in everything I do. I can’t understand why He’s putting me through this from this side of the mountain, as I’m trapped in the valley, but as the psalm says, I can always raise my eyes up to the hills. And I can be confident that my Almighty God, the Lord of Hosts, is at work in me. Whatever it is he’s doing, it’s for the better, and someday I know I’ll look back on this time and say to myself “wow… God is so good. I never would have imagined that something as wonderful as this could have arisen from such a time as that.” God is perfect, and everything He does is for a reason. I may not understand His reasons until I’m standing on that mountain top, looking back into the valley I’m trudging through today, but I can find peace and strength in knowing that none of this pain is in vain.
Proverbs 17:3 tells us that “The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold, and the LORD tests hearts.” The fires of life may burn and scar, but the purest gold comes from the hottest furnace, and the most beautiful metal sculptures were hammered again and again to reach their state of perfection. God puts us through these trials to form us into his perfect, shining image, and for this reason I can be proud of my scars. There is no greater honor than to suffer as my Savior suffered for me, and in His strength I can push on through anything.
So, the reason I post all of this today is to, hopefully, encourage you in your own valleys of persecution. I’m going through some hard times, but I know I’m not the only one. I can only pray that perhaps this post will speak to one of you, and help to ease your burden just a bit. In closing, I’m sharing two songs that have spoken to me, and served as beautiful reminders that God is with me and working on and through me.