Good Morning Brothers…
“One sees great things from the valley; only small things from the peak.” (Chesterson)
A few weeks ago I wrote a “Treestand Devotional” for my good buddy John about fear. I told a story of a bear hunt I recently went on and how I allowed the fear of the unknown to creep into my mind almost paralizing me. I ended ubruptly with the story unfinished… maybe for certain reasons, but I’d like to finish that story for you today as I have realized over the course of time that even when the story is “over” and the bear has been shot, there is always a lesson to be learned.
The first night of my hunt had come to an end without seeing a bear as I heard a fourwheeler off in the distance headed my direction. The next day comes and I’ve found my way to the bear stand once again. My guide describes where the bears could possibly come from, I climb in the stand, get my thoughts and gear gathered and wait. I didn’t wait long as a “nice” black bear comes walking into the bait. To make a long story short, I shot this bear at 3:02pm and killed him. I could sit and tell you many things that were going through my mind; what I was feeling, the questions of a good or bad shot, the excitement, the thoughts of overcoming fears. All of that is fine and well and I do believe that God really spoke and showed me some great things in that time but that’s not what I want to talk about today. Just note that this would be my moutain top experience.
Have you ever been on a moutain top? If you have, what did you see? Maybe you’ve gotta close your eyes to really try and imagine the last moutain top you were on. Maybe you’ve never had that pleasure of being on the top of a mountain…that’s what Google is for. Look it up, because I can almost guarantee what you will see, a valley. To me, valley’s are so much prettier than the actual mountain top. In fact, outside of the fact that you can see for a really long ways, mountain tops are pretty boring. Typically vegitation is weak. Depending on the elavation you are at, it effects your breathing. It’s just not really all it’s cracked up to be. But the valley, now that’s something there! Everything about the valley floor speaks to life and life abundantly. However, it’s seems like that is an awful easy assumption until we find ourselves living in the valley. That is where I found myself three days after I shot my black bear.
It’s time for us to leave bear camp. We’ve got everything packed, the bears are in the coolers, bows and rifles in their cases and we are headed to the United States border approximately 12 hours away. Life is good! We are still on cloud-nine, telling the same stories about our hunts that we have been telling for days now. Trying to figure out how we are going to convince our wives to let us come back next year. We didn’t have a worry in the world… until we reach the border.
As easy as it was entering Canada, we assumed it was going to be the same entering the great country of America and it should have been, if we all had the proper paper work. Needless to say we, or better yet, I didn’t have the right paper work which resulted in me having to leave my bear at the border (insert valley here).
In comparison to many other trials, this is probably seen as less than significant but that’s really not the point. We all go through difficulties that we would consider a valley of sorts, but how do we look at these valleys? Romans 5:3-5 says “More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that sufferings produce endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope and hope doesn’t disappoint.” This scripture, though written after him, reminds me of Job and his crazy story. Job went from a moutain top life to a valley that would test his very limits, but he knew his God was bigger. Or think about Joseph and his multiple peaks and valleys before ultimately becoming king. David, for most of his life, probably seemed like one big valley, never to see the mountain top, and yet he knows he has to be in the presence of God.
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have it’s full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” James 1:2-4
For eight long weeks I had to “count it all joy” knowing that whatever happened I would be fine and life would go on. Maybe for you that valley has been much longer than eight weeks or much deeper than a $2500 bear hunt. Regardless, if you believe that God will “never leave you nor forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:6) then you can count it all joy because you know your steadfastness ultimately produces hope, and hope doesn’t dissapoint.
Though most of the time the valley is looked at as the place you don’t want to be, I would have to ask, “Between the mountain top and the valley, where is the most fruit bore?” To be able to look at life, no matter what it throws at you, and still praise His name is to catch a glimpse of His grace.
Deuteronomy 31:6 “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Micah 7:7 “But as for me, I will look to the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me.”
Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your hearth, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”
1 Corinthians 16:13 “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong.”
Editors Note: After 8 long weeks, the proper paper work was filed, the right people were notified, the bear has found its way to Kansas.