I’ve been given quite the hard time about my pace while hiking and the fact that I pass up really large trees. Allow me to explain as to why I do this. All I want to do is get to the high point. I just want to get to the mountain top and see. I want to be able to look all around me; spot where I’ve been and see where I’m going next. When I’m down low, all I can think about is getting to that high point. The trees block my view. There is nothing but trees, most of the time. I feel cramped and I can’t see exactly the direction I’m taking. When you are walking in a valley everything seems twice the distance and twice the time.
For some reason, I tend to be restless on Sundays. Last Sunday was no exception. I struggle to see God. I am an experiential type person and if I can’t use my five natural senses, I have a hard time wrapping my mind around things. When I’m feeling frustrated and restless, I drive. I went from one place to another, stopping only long enough to grab coffee (probably not the best thing for restlessness) and drive someplace else. I drove to the mountains. I drove to town. I drove down the highway. Nothing could satisfy me. I wanted a direction. I wanted a focus, but I couldn’t see one for all of the other stuff surrounding me. I wanted a handle on my circumstances. I wanted closure. I wanted peace. None of which I was finding on the move. I knew that I needed to just stop; stop looking at what was around me and look up. I drove to the lake, which is in the valley, and watched the sunset and even though I didn’t feel like it, I lifted my hands and sung, “Your name is glorious, glorious. Your love is changing us, calling us to worship in spirit and in truth. As all creation returns to you”. I just wanted to feel God’s presence. I wanted to want Him; I wanted to love Him. I went home to attempt to recreate, as best as I could with my hands, the sunset I had witnessed. As I was painting, I realized that the mere action in mimicking my Father was an act of a loving relationship. The next morning, as I was carrying so closely my son to the door of the daycare, I also realized how close my son and I were simply by the act of carrying him. It made me understand that just as Isaac isn’t fully conscious of how close I hold him, how little I comprehend the fullness of God holding and carrying me. I still don’t, for now.
However, it is these moments that are not only bringing me the realization of God’s love for me and mine for Him, but also how this walk through the valley is refining me in a way that being on a mountain top couldn’t. This is because, right here and right now, I’m looking up to and reaching out for God in a way that I never have before. When in the valley, the only things there are to look at are the circumstances and worries that surround you. What is around us isn’t always worthy of our focus. In the valley is the only place where you come to the point of realization that the only direction to look is up. You find yourself choosing to look up, not in exhilaration like that felt on a mountain top, but desperate realization that there is nothing else, but our God. It is there at that point that brings us closer to Him, not being on top of the mountain. It is in the fog and the murk (or in the trees) that put us into a fuller view of Him. It is there that brings us into a complete trust in Him.
“Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord, forever.” ~Psalm 23:6