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Discussing religion, spirituality and values. Amy Umble is the religion reporter for The Free Lance-Star. You can email her at aumble@freelancestar.com.
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COLUMN: Scriptures help when peaks turn into valleys

SEVERAL months ago, my husband went to Haiti to help teach Vacation Bible School.

In preparation for his trip, we both spent time in prayer and Bible study as we sought the Lord’s blessing and guidance over Steve’s time with these precious children.

During the week he was in Haiti, we had absolutely no contact with one another. Being unable to share my thoughts and feelings with my husband caused me to draw even closer to God.

When Steve returned, his excitement over what the Lord had done was contagious. We both felt passion and a sense of urgency to continue missions work overseas and here at home.

I was filled with peace, joy and anticipation for the future. Through the process, I was drawn close to my husband and even closer to God. I was so filled with the love of Christ, that it spilled over into all areas of my life.

If you have been a Christian for any length of time, you have probably heard the phrase “mountain-top experience.”

This expression originated because of the dealings that God had with His people on various “mountain tops.” The phrase has come to mean a moment of transcendence and an experience of significant revelation given by God.

I was definitely on the “mountain top” during the period following Steve’s trip. And that is what makes the dark valley that I now find myself in all the more painful. Gone is the peace and joy with which I had been filled. In its place are despair, anxiety and sadness.

Instead of being excited for the future, I question the point of it all as each day passes exactly like the one before. I find myself feeling like I will never measure up—that I am failing to do all that needs to get done.

I feel as though I have a heavy burden strapped to my back as I try to breathlessly claw my way up the ragged rock face in an effort to reach the peak of the mountain once more.

And then I read the following passage from Matthew 4: “Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.”

What proceeded this wilderness journey for Jesus? His baptism by John the Baptist.

The moment where the heavens literally parted, He saw the Holy Spirit descend upon Him like a dove and heard God say, “This is my beloved Son with whom I am well pleased.” Talk about a mountain-top experience.

During Jesus’ 40 days and 40 nights in the wilderness He was tempted by Satan.

Satan’s goal was to cause Jesus to fail to complete the mission that God had sent Him to accomplish.

I believe his goal is the same for us. And so, right at the moment of a personal spiritual awakening, he whispers ever so slyly in our ear in an effort to cripple us. How did Jesus respond to this taunting? By using the most powerful weapon we have at our disposal: the Word of God.

When Satan tells me that I am nothing special, I quote Ephesians 2:10, “For [I am] his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that [I] should walk in them.”

When he whispers, “You are not strong enough,” I recite Psalm 73:26, “God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”

When feelings of inadequacy creep in and I feel like I will never be good enough, I remember Isaiah 62:3, “You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God.”

With each Scripture verse I pray, I feel the burden slowly lifting from my shoulders making my journey back to the top of the mountain just a little bit easier.

When you find yourself in a dark and lonely place, remember the Apostle Paul’s words to the church at Ephesus: “Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes[using] the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” (Ephesians 6:10–18).

Visit my blog today for a list of Bible verses that you can pray over your life.

Heather Ablondi is a women’s ministry speaker and author who resides in Fredericksburg. You can contact her through her website, www.heatherablondi.com.

 

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