Friday, May 24, 2013

{The Valley}

We pilgrims must often travel stretches we'd just as soon not travel. The path ahead seems uncertain. It looms dark in the distance, and we wish we could just stay on the mountain top instead and enjoy the view from there. Even as we travel, we know the right words to say. We know with our minds that God is good and that He is faithful and that the path we are on comes as no surprise to Him. He's in control.

Yet still we must trudge through a path that is not of our own choosing.

Someone very dear to my heart is trudging a lonely path right now, and it hurts to watch. I can tell her the words that God is good, and she knows that it is true, but she would just as soon enjoy His goodness from the beauty of a hilltop rather than in the shadows of a valley. I wish I could pull her out. I desperately wish I could pull her out. But sometimes the Lord, in His mysterious sovereignty, keeps us there. We don't know why, but we know Him and we know His goodness, so we trust and obey.

Woman in a Garden by Daniel Ridgway Knight

Yesterday as I was reading through Isaiah 27, my heart was encouraged not only by the goodness of the Lord, but by the specific ways in which He shows us His goodness. Sometimes it helps to latch on to the tangible when we're traveling a dark path. We need a staff, a light, an assurance that we're going the right way and that we're not alone.

I read the words carefully, and as I often do, I picked out the verbs. Our God is a God of action, and it comforts me to study all that He does on my behalf:

Sing about a fruitful vineyard: I, the Lord, will watch over it; I water it continually. 
I guard it day and night so that no one may harm it.
Isaiah 27:2-3

I copied the verses in my journal and underlined the action: watch, water, and guard. When I envision the Lord doing this for me, it brings me a new sense of peace and comfort.

I think of Him watching over me, and I am comforted. "Watching" speaks of the Lord's attentiveness and delight and interest in my life. This is incredible. That the Almighty God would watch over me as a farmer eagerly watches the growth of his vineyard. Every day a new delight, a new bud, a new proof of a maturity that only comes as a result of being carefully watched over.

I think of Him watering His vineyard, and I am comforted. "Watering" speaks of the Lord's generosity and sufficiency and His wisdom in knowing what I need and when I need it. He gives in abundance, tending with perfection, and He gives according to my situation and according to how I can be the best little vine I can possibly be.

I think of Him guarding, and I am comforted. "Guarding" speaks of diligence and strength, purpose and love, and a fierce protection that every girl craves. Nothing gets by Him. I think of the Chris Tomlin song:

I know Who goes before me,
I know Who stands behind
The God of angel armies
Is always by my side.

The God of angel armies. The almighty One. He is with us. He is watching over us, tending us in our every need, delighting in our beauty, and masterfully crafting us to become more radiant than we could ever imagine. 

The valleys won't disappear, and the path won't always stretch out clear and unobstructed before us. But we know one thing for certain: we don't walk it alone. The God of angel armies is our friend -- our friend! -- and He's always by our side. Watching, watering and guarding with His perfect, all-sufficient love.

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  1. I love that the Lord guards us and watches over us with such strength and care. He even sings over us (Zephaniah 3:17), which is so amazing. When we are in the valley, I think the songs are more comforting ones, like a lullaby.

    1. That is amazing, Chanda! Such a beautiful picture. And I love the image of a lullaby from our Father. Such tenderness.



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