Echoes In The Valley

Lately, at church and on different websites there have been discussions about the highs (mountaintops) and lows (valleys) that many people seem to be experiencing.  Now, none of this is new. People all around the world have good days and bad days. The road in the valley feels impossible and the view from the mountaintop is breath-taking.

Ever looked at someone and been jealous of them? No, not jealous of what they look like, but jealous of who they are? Their charisma is contagious and seemingly endless. There is a true sense of joy about them. These people have made regular trips to the top. But on the other end of the spectrum, you find those people whose head is always down. The word “MACK” seems to be imprinted on their face due to the number of times life has hit them head on. These people can see where they want to be, but the mudslides of life have defeated them so many times that they have basically given up the climb. One thing is common for both types of people…they both hear echoes in the valley.

I realized this week that no matter where I am “on the climb”, others are there with me and/or have been there before. Those thoughts were both reassuring and disheartening. We all want to be on top and even set up shop and just sell souvenirs  to those passing through. But lessons aren’t learned at the pinnacle. I know that when I have reached the peak, I find myself shutting out everything else…I mean, hey, I made it to the top, right? And therein lies the problem. “I” hardly did any of the climbing. If I had the guts to look down while ascending, I’d see that I am stepping on someone else’s back that has forfeited their next step for my success. Or maybe someone has put me on their shoulders and we’re walkin’ together.

What goes up…

I remember in 1990, before my family and I moved to Brazil, we were up in the Smokey Mountains (my favorite place on the planet; for a variety of reasons). This particular time, we were at the highest point in all the Smokies; Clingman’s Dome. Next to the parking lot, there was a side of the mountain that was covered in shale. I was 11 and my brother was 9; yes, we gave it our all and climbed the sucker. Getting to the top was ridiculous. We kept sliding down or slipping and scrapping our knees and hands, but eventually, we did make it to the top. One thing that was interesting, as I look back now, before my brother and I started heading up, no one else was doing it. But once we started, there were a few other kids fighting their way upwards. Anyways, coming down was tedious. We basically just sat down and slid, while dodging larger rocks jutting from the earth. And wow, its amazing how fast we got from the top of that mountain to the bottom; after it took so long to go up there.

Man, I don’t know what’s next. Sometimes I think I am heading up the mountain and I get all excited, just to find out that it was a speed bump in the valley. But get this (yes, it takes me awhile to fully grasp some concepts), God’s ruling hands helped to create the valleys of the physical earth, while I am the one that tries to dig my way through the side of the mountain. The “valley of the shadow of death” in Psalms 23 isn’t some sort of boobytrap that we all have to go through as if we are in Heaven’s Boot Camp.

So, I have kind of been praying differently lately. I need an exfoliation of my heart. I want to be equipped to climb. And you know somethin’, I still have kids wanting to climb like me, they just happen to be my own. And God, when I find myself walking the trail in valley, be my rod and staff. They now do more than just comfort me.


One Response to “Echoes In The Valley”

  1. I need this Donny… you hit the nail on the head. You don’t realize just how much your words always seem to talk to me and inspire me. Thanks!

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