This morning a male and female cardinal lingered outside my kitchen window, looking my way and singing. It made me think of Mom, whose been with Jesus over seventeen years now. She loved cardinals. I never paid much attention to birds until after she passed away. I then began to understand why they brought her such joy.
As they flew away I looked to the tree and noticed the resident woodpecker, once again furiously pecking away in search of that little meal hidden in the bark of the tree. It seems they would jar their little brains out pecking at something so hard like that!
Now as I sit at my desk having my quiet time, I look out the window. From the folds of material pooled at the corner of the gazebo emerges a tiny wren, out from the safety of his hiding place.
I’m grateful that God is my hiding place. He is my safety and shelter in the storm.
“You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in Your word.” Psalm 119:114
We have had our share of storms recently. This past year our family has been experiencing many storms. Sometimes back to back. Whether it has been physical storms or just those life storms that can leave you feeling battered and torn, they have been hard and trying times. Sometimes gut wrenching times that can knock the wind out of your sails. Don’t get me wrong. There have been many blessings as well. Times of joy and laughter that, at least for a moment, help you to forget the storms that may still be raging. But I confess, there are times in the storms…times where you can barely lift your head to come up for air. In those times, if you’re like me, you may ask someone to pray for you, but for the most part you don’t want to burden anyone. After all, everyone has their own problems too. So you smile and keep putting one foot in front of the other.
What I keep finding is this; when we press into our Heavenly Father, when we seek His face…we will find Him. The Bible, His word is living and powerful (Heb. 4:12). When we sit and read scripture, it will speak right to our heart and mind…many times right to our specific need. We find strength not of ourselves to carry on. We glean wisdom from its pages. And the Holy Spirit who is our Comforter is right alongside us. It’s not just good old positive thinking. It is so much more than that. It’s a living, breathing relationship with Jesus Christ. It is in that time spent with Him in his word, we come to realize that He truly is all we need in any storm…or anytime at all!
Once we land on the other side of our trials, no matter how unbearable they were, we can look back and see how we did make it through. If we reflect, we can see God’s hand leading us and equipping us on our journey through the valley.
Friend, don’t discount the valleys in your life. You may think; I’ve had enough of these dark valleys! I want to be back on the mountaintop where I can see and feel the sun shining again! Don’t we all! We will be. But while in the valley we need to remember that though it may be dark, it is in the valleys where it is lush and green. As the water runs down off the mountains, it runs through the valleys making the soil rich and fertile. Our times in the valley are times of learning and growth. When the time is right, you’ll be back on that mountaintop amazed at how far God has brought you. Because you’ve been in the valley yourself, you’ll be better able to comfort others who are in their own valley experience.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to go through life furiously pecking my brains out like that woodpecker. Always searching, striving and fighting. I want to emerge from the safety of my hiding place like that little wren, singing a joyous song like the cardinal to face each day the Lord gives to me.
The Lord is my strength and my shield;
my heart trusts in him, and he helps me.
My heart leaps for joy,
and with my song I praise him. Psalm 28:7
God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1
Are you going through a valley of your own right now? Maybe a series of valleys as I feel I’ve been in? Let me know in the comments. I count it a privilege to pray for you. No matter where you are at, remember to keep your gaze toward the Son and He will give you the strength you need to endure.
In His love,