Give me a word, Lord: GOD IN THE VALLEY

2 Corinthians 4:8-10 We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.

Isaiah 61:3 To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for his own glory.

I Peter 5:10 In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation.

What if we lost every material thing that we owned today? Don’t laugh. It’s very possible with hurricanes, tornadoes, forest fires, and earthquakes. We can save up for a rainy day, hoard all of our possessions, and imagine that these material things are giving us comfort. We are trained to think that more is better, and we are constantly striving for more…more money, more wealth, more possessions. We feel like we need more. We are always searching for the next big thing to bring back to the dust covered trophies of our homes. But, what if we lost it all tomorrow? Where would you find your comfort then?

God didn’t promise us a beautiful life, but He did promise a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of morning, and festive praise instead of despair. Life is unbelievably hard. People are sick. People are losing their jobs. Hurricanes have wreaked disaster on our neighbors to the east and west this year, and forest fires are still raging to our north. The devil would want us to believe that this is the end for us. He wants us to feel the pain of the suffering, and he wants us to lose all hope. The devil is a liar, though. We know this fact all too well, but still, he tries to creep in and consume our thoughts with worry, grief, and pain, and oh, his big gun….fear of the unknown.

We don’t know what the future holds, but friends, we do know who holds our future. We can find great comfort in that. God has a plan. We don’t know what this plan looks like or how it will unfold, but we really don’t need to. We only need to trust in God and be patient in the process. A friend’s husband recently lost his job of 21 years. He labored hard for this company, and he was a good employee, but the plant closed. No job, the years of his youth has passed by working for a company that was no longer, and now, in his 50s, he found himself without work. They prayed, believed, and patiently waited, and God provided. He was blessed with a new job, making even more money, and less physical labor. God is always so faithful, we only have to have faith and remember that He is in control. And it’s always amazing to me to see that God doesn’t just provide, He provides abundantly!

I don’t know what you are going through today, and I would not even try to make light of your situation. However, I do ask that you remember that no matter how big your problem is, GOD IS BIGGER! Don’t let that old devil steal your joy. Don’t give him one second of your precious time. The God of the mountain is still God of the valley. “Life is easy, when you’re up on the mountain and you’ve got peace of mind, like you’ve never known. But things change, when you’re down in the valley. Don’t lose faith, for you’re never alone. (from “God on the Mountain” by Bill and Gloria Gaither) It is true. We are never alone.

If you are feeling lost today, alone, broken, or as though you have lost it all, don’t forget that you are not alone. Jesus Christ loves you so much. He is very near to the broken hearted. He never leaves, and He will lift you back up from the ashes. “We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.” Don’t let the devil have even the slightest foothold today. Cry out to the Father, and remember “after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation.” He will restore you! He will support you! He will strengthen you! He will place you on a firm foundation! Just believe that He can and He will!

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