January 25, 2014

Beauty In The Winter Valleys

I pause in my busyness and look up to see a winter valley spread out before me.  It is strange, the feelings I experience.  The valley is desolate, almost alien in its winter dress.  And yet it seems strangely beautiful in its terribleness. As if it had been frozen in time.

And I wonder, while traversing its expanse, how a place so ravaged by winter could be so enduring?

Frigid winds that leave you breathless. The glistening of ice on snow covered ground.  Dry, bare trees standing firm through the season. Birds taking flight towards warmer lands.

Life, I muse, could feel this way.  Like the dead of winter in a forgotten valley.  So cold that you would sprout wings and fly somewhere much more pleasant if it were possible.

I suppose it is human nature to desire a quick exit from the cold valleys of life.  After all, who would want to be trapped in a frigid wind tunnel with ice under their feet?  Surely not I.

Yet how many times had I found myself walking within one and experiencing the bitter cold?  Would I have chosen to do so of my own accord?  No, the truth is that I am not so brave.  The truth, I reflected, was that I was led into each valley. But never had I traversed their expanses alone.

It was God who walked beside me, intent on leading me through.  He did not do this for ill pleasure.  No.  He always had good purpose, a glorious purpose that surpassed the every-day existence and propelled me into the realms of the divine.  It was, and still remains, the greatest means by which He could grant me spiritual blessings and deeper insights. Insights that were not only of my own heart but also of Himself.  

We would cross the valleys together.  But at times I would meander, choosing to separate myself from His aid. Believing quite foolishly that I knew another way, a better way of crossing the distance.  It was only by His grace and immeasurable patience that I finally understood there was little hope of successful passage under my own strength.   The Lord remained, as He does today, by my side willing to carry me if needed.

It had always been that when I leaned on Him for strength, for courage, I was better able to truly see my surroundings.  Every valley had its own terrors, yes, but they also had their own beauty.  And I realized that whenever I drew closer to God the beauty of the valleys were unfurled before me.

The bitter wind howls and carries with a sting.  The valley I currently cross is fraught with difficult terrain and I cannot yet see its end.  I'm weary and at times frightened.  Yet I know He is with me, desiring that I not feel disheartened. He leans closer and shelters me. I feel peace that is not my own.  

I look to Him and ask, " Lord, where are you leading me?"

And He smiles and says, " Take my hand.  Trust me. I will bring you safely to the other side."

" Blessed be the Lord, who bares us up; God is our salvation. Selah."
~ Psalm 68:19 

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