Mountains and Valleys
“Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!”
– Psalm 139:7-8
I went to Denver, Colorado about three years ago with a very good friend of mine. We had planned this trip for months and we’re really looking forward to it. I had never really seen the mountains, but always wanted to. I remember, as we got into Rocky Mountain National Park, that it took my breath away. Not just from the altitude, but from the absolute beauty of the mountains and trees.
As we began our trek through the frozen paradise, we came to a clearing overlooking a frozen lake that led to a glorious mountain range. I remember standing there and thinking “Wow! God made this and yet He loves me more! How incredible!” It was as if God was right there with me. I can remember sensing His nearness as we continued to hike and see more and more amazing views. It was an awe-inspiring moment and a holy moment as well.
We got back to the cabin where we were staying and began to wind down for the night. As we were about to head to sleep, my phone went off and I saw I had an email from my college. It was the end of the semester so this wasn’t anything out of the ordinary. I opened it and as I read it, my heart sank. To summarize the whole email, it essentially said “We regret to inform you that you can no longer attend our college due to poor academic performance. To regain your status as a student here, you must go to another school and earn a GPA of at least 3.0 and then you can come back”. I was broken. I had failed. About a year earlier, I was on academic probation for poor grades and this was the final straw. I was kicked out of college for having a GPA of 1.45.
As I tried to sleep, I remember racking my brain trying to figure out what I was going to do and what I was going to tell my parents. I ended up doing the only thing I knew to do. I prayed. The fact that I had been kicked out of college meant that I didn’t have any idea where my life was headed. I was scared, lost, and hopeless at that moment. Yet, I remember the feeling I had as I was praying, was one I felt just a few hours earlier in the mountains. I felt as if God was right there with me. It was as if God was sitting on the floor with me and listening to me and talking to me. Although I had one of the worst moments of my life, God did not abandon me and He was right there with me.
In that six-hour span, I had one of the highest points (literally and spiritually) of my life and one of the lowest points of my life and yet God was with me in both. The point is, that the God with us on the mountains is the same when we’re in the valley of the shadow of death. I love how Psalm 139 puts it. It says that no matter where I go, if I ascend to the heavens or if I drop to the furthest point, He is with me. God is the same no matter the circumstance.
In some occurrences, I find myself questioning where God is in my time of distress. I start trying to do things on my own. When that ultimately doesn’t work, I end up mad at God for not showing up sooner when I haven’t even said anything to Him. It’s really a vicious and somewhat embarrassing cycle. The thing about God is that He can and wants to do something in the situation and in our storms. Often when God is most silent is when He is most at work.
Pray: God thank you for Your reminder that no matter where I go, You go with me. Thank You for never leaving me to do life on my own and for always having my best in Your mind. Help me to trust You more and to realize that even when I don’t see You working, You’re still in control.
First Baptist Broken Arrow