By Rebecca Vickery
Not every moment is a mountaintop moment. Mountaintop moments, you feel the light of the Lord on your face, your faith is revived, renewed, restored, and you leave with a glow. These are the high times, the times in which we soak in the rays of the Son. Mountaintop moments matter. They are important. But maybe what happens in the Valley is more so.
I have seen more valleys than mountains in recent years. The moments I have come to know His presence in the midst of my deepest hurt, I have found to be even more precious than mountaintop moments. God is faithful in the valley. His peace is so perfect and healing. His presence is a balm to my soul when nothing else will remedy or satisfy. He is a refuge, a safe harbor, a strong tower; all the things He has promised to be.
We can lose sight of this when our lives are full of so many distractions. Good distractions. Bad distractions. They all pull away our eyes from the One who loves so fully. I have known people who walked away from the Lord in the times of hardship. Life is hard enough, how could I do it without His presence? How could I walk away from the One who will never walk away from me?
The last year has been on of the most physically challenging years of my life. I’m not sure how much longer my frail flesh could have held on without a diagnosis, and finally treatment. But treatment itself has stretched my threshold for pain and discomfort. When I didn’t know there could be more pain, there it was surprising me with more.
Catching up with a close friend on the brokenness and sorrows contained within the year, we spoke of the faithfulness of God throughout it. We connected over a verse that has ministered to both of our hearts over the years. After the people around Jesus got upset with him for sharing some hard truths, some of them decided they weren’t going to follow Jesus anymore. “Jesus turned to his disciples and asked them, “Do you want to leave me too?” Peter responds, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You alone have the words of eternal life.”” John 6:67-68
My friend expressed that this has been his anchor verse for all these years. It has been the same for me. When times have been tough, as Jesus said that they would be, I have held firm to the Anchor of my soul. Not the anchor of a boat that may or may not hold firm, but to Jesus. And to my Daddy. My Abba. For he has not given us a spirit to be slave again to fear, but his Spirit, by which I may cry Abba (Daddy), Father. (Romans 8:15) He is a Heavenly Father who is perfect beyond even the best that our earthly fathers could provide. He wants to be in our presence, or more importantly, He wants us to be in His.
This may be a stretch for some of us who have fathers who are less than perfect or even absent. But imagine the most perfect father in the world. Perhaps he is a composite of all the tv dads that you’ve seen and thought, that’s what a good dad looks like. Our heavenly Father is better. He is abounding in love. He is patient. He is slow to anger. He is long suffering. And He quiets us with his singing. Sometimes I ponder this verse and I say, “Lord, I want to hear you.” I want to have my heart so inclined to my Father’s love that I can hear him singing.
Even as I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I have pressed deeper into my relationship with the Lord. My reliance on God has increased my trust. Every time I choose to trust Him, he continues to show his faithfulness. “Lord of Hosts, you’re with us, with us in the fire, with us as a shelter, with us in the storm, You will lead us through the fiercest battle. Oh, where else would we go but with the Lord of hosts?” (Shane and Shane, Lord of Hosts) Lord, where else would I go? You alone have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God. Mountaintop or valley low, He is with us. And He is good.