living in the valley

While going over the psalms slowly, it has struck me just how often the psalmists lives in the valley so to speak, and rarely on a mountain. In other words life for the psalmist was often hard, difficult, even well nigh impossible on a number of levels. This made them all the more aware of their need for God and for God’s salvation.

I think we in Jesus ought to be living more and more in God’s peace and overflowing joy, but I think that’s rarely a kind of mountaintop experience, free from trouble. Such times are surely good here and there, especially helpful after seasons of great difficulty. But by and large that’s not where we live, not the real world, in which trouble and trials are part of the whole.

Recently I had an unusual day where it seemed like I lived above the fray, not hardly with my feet on the ground. Troubles seemed distant. That was surely good, and I thought how even though I’ve lived with much inward suffering all my life, the memory of that on that day seemed distant, even as the idea of complete peace and joy seems distant to me as a rule.

I think a key is to learn to live in God’s presence in the midst of trouble. In fact I think we need to embrace that reality. That is where we learn to live the life that is in Jesus, not away from the real world, but in the midst of it with all its troubles.

Of course this doesn’t mean that we neglect what some call “soul care,” or don’t have some getaways, big and small, even a mountaintop experience here and there. It does mean that we are to accept the difficulty that comes our way, the humdrum of life, the inevitable disappointments. And learn that it is indeed there that we’re to know more and more the peace and joy and overflowing life of God that is in and through Jesus.

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