Wednesday, May 25, 2016

6. Rising Above, Vacation Devotion

Genesis 8:1-5
Genesis 8:4 (KJV)
And the ark rested in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, upon the mountains of Ararat.

Life is tough. It's a challenge to get through the valleys and climb up the mountains. There are those who have chosen to live in the valleys, but the valleys represent death and depression. They're not meant to make habitable, they're meant to travel through.

After the flood had killed every living thing on the earth, can you imagine how horrific it must have been on Noah's descendants to travel? As they descended down Mount Ararat, not only did they endure the stress of relocation, but they would have come across more carcasses than would have been acceptable to ones psyche.

This is truly one of our lessons as we travel through our valleys. Not only are we enduring our own pain, but we are thrust into the valley where all we see is the pain of others. Being in the valley greatly magnifies sorrow. It magnifies death. While attempting to obey God's command to spread across the earth and multiply, we find ourselves thick in the mire of death, pain and suffering. Not just our own, but everyone's around us in the valley as well. And yet, we have a mandate, to get to the next mountaintop. God walks with us through the valley, but he gets very liberal with rewards once we make it to the mountain top.

These valleys, where every other traveler is also experiencing the death of something, are hopeless places.


Great things happen at the tops of mountains! There is no success like making it to the top of a mountain. I've read books and watched documentaries of mountain climbers. Some of them are missing appendages due to a climb. Some have witnessed death on a climb. Their experiences are so horrific, besides being wary of heights, I'd be too scared of duplicating their losses to want to climb. But, not these! They are so obsessed with the glories of reaching the mountain tops that their bad experiences are in no way a deterrent. 

While you'll never find me purposefully climbing anything in the natural, but a rock wall. In the spirit I too will climb life's mountains, no matter the cost. I will because I MUST get through and out of those Valleys of the Shadow of Death. I must get out of the valley because God demands I reproduce more gifts, more ministries, more joys, more testimonies. I'm a MAJOR comfort-creature. I can't stand for anything to change. I'd rather curl up and die in the valley than journey to the next mountain. But, I am built for climbing. I'm lazy about it, but I'm good at it. 

I've been in many valleys in my travels to new mountains. I've discovered that many of my fellow travelers are stuck in the valleys because they can't climb. They're as ignorant of the spiritual climb as I am of the natural climb.

Due to my rock wall climbing I've had lessons on climbing. But I'm so forgetful, I have to have a new lesson every time! My daughter, who forgets nothing, has to stand by during my lesson. She literally mouths the words along with my instructor. She's even filled in holes the instructor missed!
I know I need a partner.
I know my partner asks, "Belay?"
I know that when I'm ready I say, "Belay on."
But I don't remember what "belay" even means. 
And from climb to climb I can't remember how to tie the rope around my harness.
[true story]

In the spirit there are those who haven't been able to wrap their minds around Hope, as I have. Hope is NECESSARY to climbing out of the valley. I "get" faith and praise as easily as my daughter "gets" the climbing instructor's info. Not everybody grasps faith and praise as easily as other journeyers.

But God will not leave those in the valley just because they don't "get" the traditional climbing methods. There's another way to the top of the mountain. It's no more pleasant than the climbing method. It's sometimes a longer route, therefore patience is a necessity. It's no less frightening. 

It's a flood. 

Don't assume God intends to drown you just because your life is experiencing a flood that is destroying all you know and love. The water is pelting you from above, the ground that once held your home is being broken up. The land where you once harvested life-giving fruit is now spewing uncontrolled fountains of water.

Fear not. 

The ark has been prepared for your safety. Stay in the church. Stay with the captain. Storms are NOT the time for jumping ship. Even, as in Paul's storm, when the ship itself broke apart, he stayed with a BROKEN ship.

The key to surviving this flood is to STAY WITH THE SHIP. 

God may send a raging flood to lift you to the mountaintops, rather than a traditional climb.

2 Corinthians 3:18 (KJV)
But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, [even] as by the Spirit of the Lord.

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