"Thank You for Your love,
Thank You for Your faithfulness;
Most holy is Your Name,
Most holy is Your Word.
"The moment I called out, You stepped in;
You made my life large with strength."
Psalm 138:3 (The Message)
My graduation certificate from Physical Therapy arrived in the mail yesterday and deserves the same amount of wall space as anything I've ever earned. So, today I thought I'd see just how much I've improved now that I'm a pro, a grad, by pitching things into the corner of the fence where the bamboo grows. All three tosses hit their mark. Amazing, three months later what was broken is healed, what was weak is strong, what was shaky is steady. In June, I was sure I'd never do much with this arm again and in September, I find I was wrong.
Did it take a piece of paper to tell me I could do that? Could I have been tossing things far and wide yesterday? Last week? Two weeks ago? Maybe so, and that's my problem. In spite of all the times God has made me "large with strength" before this bummer of a summer, I didn't realize I was still waiting for visible evidence and the go-ahead nod from an expert before testing my strength.
If you've just hit bottom or you're looking at the long middle of a difficult valley, what you see is not what you get in the end. When we keep calling out to the Lord, September arrives and we see how God has made us large with strength. If we immerse ourselves in growing in His grace, in fervently praying His Word, and in allowing Him to work out His Loving purposes in us, the valley becomes the place He heals, strengthens, and steadies us.
Father, we want out of the valleys. We confess: we don't want to be strong or stronger; we want out. But You have plans to make us "large with strength" to keep us from walking through life afraid or uncertain. You allow the valleys to make us able to praise You in any circumstance and so we'll call out to You to fill us with faith. Thank You for Your love, for Your faithfulness. We call and You step in - not always to lift us out of crises, but to strengthen us through them. Give us the wisdom to accept what You're doing in us and to understand that what we see in the valley isn't what we get permanently. Help us act on the strength You provide.
In the the Name of Jesus Who, because He knew heaven lay ahead of Him, was able to suffer merciless torture before carrying His own cross up a hill to die a death He didn't deserve.