Interesting, what sparks many of these conversations is not a ‘mountain top’ experience, where the sun shining, there are no clouds in sight and life is good; the majority of these conversations are spawned from a ‘valley’ type of experience. It's in those moments when life is not unfolding as we might have hoped, when all of our well made plans come crashing down and any measure of peace seems elusive that we often find ourselves searching for answers and perspective. And too, often beyond the disappointment or sense of loss or failure or fear we may be experiencing, we, at a deeper level, experience a sense of emptiness and lowliness; even at times a sense of rejection or betrayal.
David, writes about such an experience in Psalm 41:10…Even my close friend, someone I trusted, one who shared my bread, has turned against me.
Joseph was betrayed, Elijah felt a deep sense of loneliness, Jeremiah felt abandoned, as did the Apostle Paul: At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me. (2 Timothy 4:16)
If you’ve ever felt that way, you’re not alone. And, our valley experiences and those moments of quiet reflection often do bring about a renewed perspective and we are better able to zero on what matters most—the love and support of family and friends, transcendent moments when we can see the beauty of God’s creation, the blessing of the Holy Scriptures that speak comfort and encouragement into our lives and above all, the very presence of God.
David, as he wrestled through his valley experience and the betrayal of a friend would say of God: you uphold me and set me in your presence forever. (Psalm 41:12)
Betrayed, sold into slavery and later cast into prison, the Bible says of Joseph...while (he) was in the prison, the Lord was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor. (Genesis 39:20-21)
At a low point in his journey, God came to Elijah and spoke to him in a gentle whisper. (1 Kings 19:12-13) And though he felt abandoned and alone, Jeremiah would come to testify, the Lord is with me like a mighty warrior. (Jeremiah 20:11) And Paul would say: the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength. (2 Timothy 4:17)
Through all the ups and downs of our journey through life, may we be constantly drawn back to abiding presence of our Lord, and in that may we find strength along the way and joy in the journey.
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. (Psalm 46:10)