VALLEYS OF DESPAIR ARE TIMES OF PREPARATION
With our faith lives, we sometimes enter valleys of despair. It is our time in these valleys of despair that we should see as periods of preparation. Preparation for the next climb with our faith and God’s purpose for us.
After his dramatic conversion on the road to Damascus, the apostle Paul was forced to spend three years in the Arabian desert. Lonely years of preparation. Utterly alone and wondering if his faith in Jesus was worth the cost. He wanted to help spread the message of the “Good News” quickly but found himself instead alone in Arabia. But God was preparing Paul for a long journey outside of his known world, toward a larger mission of spreading Christianity beyond the confines of Judea. During these three lonely years in the desert, God was preparing Paul for three remarkable journeys that would propel Christianity to become the predominate faith of the known world. In the history of Christianity, few missions were as critical as Paul’s in spreading the “Good News” about Jesus.
Peter Drucker, the famed business advisor, says, “The key to success isn’t what you learn in success, but what you learn in failure.” Consider the following. Winston Churchill was banished from his political party for a decade before he became prime minister. He then led England at a time when they stood alone against the forces of tyranny during World War II. Thomas Edison’s teachers told him he was not smart enough. Oprah Winfrey was fired from her first television job as an anchor. Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper because he lacked imagination! We all know the happy endings these stories have. The key ingredient was not giving up but getting prepared!
In summary, in our own efforts of faith, we can see valleys as a time of preparation. These periods in the valley can be an indication of powerful movements that lay ahead in our lives. A direction God is going to take us.
Most of us want success, peace, health, and a strong connection with God. Having these dreams and ambition are critical to moving forward. Wanting to be a good and faithful person or good at our craft is a great start. With our spiritual life success requires endurance and patience. When Jesus says go through the narrow gate, he is telling us to avoid the easy way. He is telling us to respect what we seek. He is telling us that what we seek is sacred. He’s asking, “Are we willing to put in the time to develop our faith?
Blessings, until next time,
Bruce L. Hartman