How to turn your valley experiences into mountiantop visions. Part 2.
Psalm 37:1-4, “Do not fret because of those who are evil
or be envious of those who do wrong;
for like the grass they will soon wither,
like green plants, they will soon die away.
Trust in the Lord and do good;
dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
Take delight in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart”
No place for fretting.
When you and I face valley experiences, per the above verse, we have two choices- either we can fret (be constantly or visibly worried or anxious) over the people who are evil/envious toward who do wrong. Or we can trust in the character of God, do good, dwell in the land, enjoy safe pasture, delight in the Lord, commit our way to the Lord and trust Him. The evil people who harm you are compared to the grass that will soon wither and green plants that will soon die away. In another passage in Psalm 73:18 Bible says, “You have certainly set them in slippery places; you will make them fall to their ruin.” It makes good sense when Bible says ‘do not fret’ because God knows the end from the very beginning. You and I do not know the end from the beginning. There is one who knows it all- The Lord in heaven. Praise to the Lord!
Last week, in our weekly Bible Insights, we discussed the first point about how to turn your valley experiences into mountaintop visions, how to get ready for another brand new assignment from God or in a nutshell how to get your heats desires fully met by the Lord by
1. trust in the character of the loving Lord.
This week we will discuss the second point.
2. Do good.
Psalm 37:3 says, “Trust in the Lord and do good”. While you trust in the character of God you go ahead do good. These are paired thoughts- trust in the Lord and do good.
Cutting off from others and brooding over the events.
I know valley experience don’t usually motivate people to do good, right? During this time generally, we would pull ourselves to our own private room and want to spend time in solitude, cutting off from others. I can well relate to this behavior. Been there, done it and experienced it many times. However, I learned from my own experience that pulling to solitude and spending time in sorrow and remorse doesn’t really help at all. In contrast, this is the truth – when we pull away to our own room and brood over the bad events happened to us, it can hurt us more and take the joy and hope completely and fully away from us. In the process of solitude and making tents and living there in the valley alone, we end up digging the valley experience much more difficult, hard and long. Most probably ‘fretting over others” will be the ultimate result. Because we focus on ourselves. The focus somehow should be shifted from self to the Lord and to others for the healing to occur.
A good Example- Paul
When we talk about the severe valley experiences, the New Testament offers a good example of Apostle Paul. This great man was always in valley experiences, one after another. Either in persecution, jail or in court trials and the list goes on. One thing you would notice is this – his continuous valley experiences never drove him to a closed room and sorrowful brooding over lifestyle. The next day or even the same day or next hour, in the midst of valleys and sever experiences, we will see him out with people spreading the Gospel or teaching/preaching wherever people gathered. If they would place in him solitude like prison, he would take his pen and write letters which became New Testament Epistles later. Paul always amazes us with his wonderful spirit. When we go through valley experiences, Paul is a challenging example for us. In other words, Paul was always doing good in the midst of his sufferings and trials. Bible has already written and finished and we should never even try to add to the pages of the Bible anymore (Revelation 22:18). Still, we have a lot of other good things to do right now, don’t we?
You are God’s handiworks and God already prepared your good works in advance- just walk in it.
Paul wrote in Ephesians 2:10, “ For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” I believe he is writing one of his heart beats in the above verse. Did you say you and I are:
• God’s handiwork
• Created in Christ Jesus to do good works
• Which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Did you ever think God already had prepared in advance what good works you will do? A wonderful and mindboggling idea right! God prepared in advance what you would do. I mean the good works you would do. In fact, the verse says you are God’s handiwork. You are the hands of God to do good to others. The passage doesn’t say our salvation or eternal life is based on the good works you would do. But it does mean once you are created in Christ Jesus or in other words, born again in Christ Jesus or saved by faith in the finished work of Christ (this is how you are created in Christ Jesus or born again) then you become God’s handiwork to do good. The creation to do good works is based on the fact that now you are newly created in Christ Jesus because of your faith and trust in Christ as the savior. These good works were already planned in advance for you and you just walk in it and do it.
Remember -You haven’t lost all yet
Therefore, God wants you to get out of your room and think how many good things you can do for God? He saved you, pulled you out of hell, forgave your sins, still forgives and cleanse you every single day when you ask for forgiveness, you can face death with the confidence that you will be in heaven with the Lord forever and ever. So what are you fretting about? Your doing good starts right there. Think how great and big God is and how He saved you and make your future safe and secure. You will not go to heaven at the time of your death because you accepted Christ as your savior, right?
Thanking God for all things you still have is a good starting point. You may have lost something or someone. But remember you haven’t lost all. You haven’t lost God’s love, you haven’t lost Holy Spirit’s presence in you. Remember nothing can separate you from the love of God toward you. Nothing means nothing period! In other words, nothing will stop His love keep coming back to you. He pours His love on you and nothing can stop it.
Now, you can reach out to others. You see no one is exempt from valley experiences. People are in it, or about to enter it or just came out of it. It is common to all. Bible says in 1 Peter 4:12, “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange was happening to you.” Somehow, we imagine we are exempt from that particular trial – the trial that we hate the most, right? But the truth is that we live in a fallen and sinful world and we mingle and live with fallen and sinful people on a daily basis. What else can you expect? Bible says do not be surprised as though something strange happened to you in your valley experience. Also, know this – your valley experience was God approved so that you can be a God’s hands and feet to someone else. Your valley experiences uniquely make you capable of a unique work or ministry that God prepared in advance for you. This is how you would see your valley experiences. Did this ever cross your mind -no one else can do the work that you are uniquely equipped to do?
Become comforters, helpers, and deliverers
Bible says in 2nd Corinthians 3-4, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”
A couple of things from the above-cited verse. Number one – in your valleys most probably no one else would be there to be with you. But this verse says God is there in the midst of it and He comforts you in all your troubles. Did you notice ‘all troubles’? Doesn’t matter what trouble you face and I bet so many out there. Sickness, people accusing you, persecute you, leaving you, loneliness, children’s issues, family and relationship issues, financial issues and death experiences. No matter what God is there with you and He comforts you during the valley time if you search him and look for Him. See valley time is uniquely made to get your attention to deepen your relationship with God. He won’t get your attention in other times. Now you are going to sit down and think. Why me? Start talking to God, look and search for Him.
It doesn’t end there. The verse above says God comforts, helps and deliver us eventually why? “So that we can comfort, help and deliver those in any trouble with the comfort, help, deliverance we received from God.”
Be the hands and feet of God in doing good because many are hurting.
My friend, so many people are hurting out there in this world as we speak. Instead of sitting and brooding over what happened to you, think how great the all-powerful God is and what mighty and wonderful things He can do for you again. Then get out there and start doing good to others. Make that phone call to someone who need an encouraging word, go and visit someone who need you, spend more time in prayer, get closer to God, talk to God, read His Word (the Bible), start attending church meetings more, talk to people and find out how you can help another person, do that work God had prepared in advance for you so that you would walk in it. You may be wondering what you can do. Think what I listed above. So many things are out there that only you can do. only you can do and no one else can do those things. God has uniquely stamped you for certain good things. Your family members, your co-workers, your neighbors, your unique talents. The list goes on. Take that first step and start doing something while you are in the midst of the valley. Do you know what? There is a day God will turn around things for you and you will see His handiwork performing His eternal plan in and through you.
A second good example – Barnabas
Bible talks about Barnabas as a good man in Acts 11:24. What did he do to get that description of ‘good man’? This was a unique time in Church history. The disciples were learning that gentiles are also included in God’s plan of salvation. Contrary to our expectation that was not a pleasant news for many Jewish Christians. It was only through tough lessons from God that even Peter learned this truth. There were reservations among the Jewish Christian’s mind in Jerusalem church. They sent Barnabas to Antioch. When he arrived there he witnessed the grace of God given to the gentiles and he rejoiced and began to encourage them all with resolute heart to remain in the Lord. Then the passage says, “for he was a good man, and full of the Holy Spirit and of faith.” Instead of keeping a doubting and prejudiced mind and looking for man’s approval from the Jerusalem church, when he witnessed God’s grace in these newly converted Gentiles, he rejoiced and began to encourage them with a steadfast or resolute heart. This is the sign of a good man.
You can rejoice over the grace of God poured out to others and encourage them in the Lord, can’t you? Sure you can. A good you can do and earn the title of a good man.
Another example of this good man is given in Acts 9:26-27 in connection with his response to Saul because all were afraid of him and not believed him as a true disciple of Christ. It says, “When he (Saul) came to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he really was a disciple. But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. He told them how Saul on his journey had seen the Lord and that the Lord had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had preached fearlessly in the name of Jesus.”
Everyone was doubting Saul who would later become Apostle Paul. But not Barnabas. You see, Paul tried to join the disciples and they won’t allow him to join the group. Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. You see Barnabas personally took Saul and brought him to the apostle and said good words about him. Again this is a good thing Barnabas did.
Do you know something about a good person? Listen and remember this. A good person accepts imperfect believers and would comfort and encourage them to go on with the Lord Jesus Christ in His unique plan. Don’t you think you can do this good by encouraging others who are imperfect? Yes, you can. A Very high honorable thing to do in the sight of God.
I don’t really get this at all.
I have seen over the years some Christians became so critical and doubtful about other saved and well-intentioned Christians. How unfortunate it is! Instead of growing in grace and compassion and understanding how vulnerable we all are apart from the grace of God (this is the essence of spiritual growth- growing in grace), they grow in an opposite and weird direction of blaming and critical of others. They still claim spiritual maturity and growth. I don’t get it. Do you know you and me are not better than the so-called ‘them’? It is only the power of the grace of God that you are still a believer today because He keeps and protects your faith.
On the other hand, I have seen many christians who became more grace oriented in their spiritual growth over the years. People need help and restoration not blame and separation because they already encountered lot of blaming people who couldn’t help. I want to be grace centered and compassionate oriented like my savior who saved me- a wrtched sinner, rather than legalistic, critical and blame oriented. Praise God for such grace centered believers and people are attracted to them like they were attracted to christ. Praise God!
Get out there and do good
In your valley, instead of shrinking down to your own private house and room and blaming and criticizing others, get out there and do good- praise God because He saved you, thank God for what you have not lost yet, think about your future and eternal security, hope in God and do good. Use your talents to do good and touch other people lives with the Word of God or kindness and mercy. Become the handiwork of God because you were created anew in Christ Jesus. Be the hands and foots of Jesus Christ to someone in your influence.
Now, I know, if you have not accepted Christ as your savior, most probably the things explained above may not makes much sense to you. Sir or Madam, may I tell you the most important need in your life- you must be born again. You are born from your parents. Bible clearly says you need to be born again from above, by the power of God, into God’s family. Then you will be equipped to trust the character of God, do good and all. In a simple prayer after me now you can be born again from above and join God’s family.
Please pray after me:
“God, I am hurting and nobody understands me and my problems. I know you can save me from my hurts and problems. I stop and look at you now for your deliverance and help. I believe in the good news that Jesus Christ died, buried and risen from the dead for my sins. I accept Him as my savior and Lord. Please come to my life and save me. Amen.”
If you prayed this prayer, please do me a kind favor. Please go to contact/prayer tab and send me a note. I will be thrilled to hear from you. Thank you.