Mountains and Valleys and Bears – Oh My!

If you’ve ever moved (and the odds are that you have), part of the lovely process is going through stuff – the accumulation of life we should have tossed out a long time ago.

20150830_160959 - CopyInspired in part by books like Miss Minimalist, I tried taking what I need and not everything I have to my new apartment. The rest is being stored back at my parents’ place or in boxes designated for a garage sale.

Among those boxes is a giant stuffed bear dating back to my senior semester in college. It inspired my unit’s “Coca-Cola Bear Christmas” theme that won us first place in the dorm decorating competition. Slightly proud unit leader? Oh, yes.

But not all bears are white, fluffy and cute. Bears come in all shapes, sizes and circumstances beyond our control. We do, however, get to choose our response to them.

Black and white direction

We all want to know God’s will for our lives, but the temptation in the valleys of life is to doubt we’re on the right path. However, God’s Word gives clear direction in many areas.

What are some things God clearly reveals to be His will? Here are just a few examples:

  • Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ to be saved. Your salvation is through faith, a gift of God, not the result of your own works. (Acts 16:30-31, Ephesians 2:8-9)
  • Grow through “all things” to become like Jesus. (Romans 8:28-29)
  • Give thanks “in everything.” (I Thessalonians 5:18)
  • Never stop praying. (I Thessalonians 5:16-17).
  • Live a holy life, pleasing to God. (I Thessalonians 4:3)
  • Treasure what God values above what the world values. (Colossians 3:2)
  • Abide in God’s Word so its fruit is evident in your life. (Colossians 3:16)
  • Forgive others as Christ has forgiven you. (Ephesians 4:32)
  • Be a follower of Christ. (Ephesians 5:1)
  • Honor your parents and those whom God has placed in authority over you. (Ephesians 6:1-8, Romans 13:1-7)
  • Don’t conform to this world; people should see you’re different. (Romans 12:1-2)
  • Share the good news with others. (Matthew 28:19-20)

This is only a short list! The bottom line to know God’s will is to be in His Word. I challenge you to add to this list and share your discoveries in a comment below.

Navigating the fog

You’re facing a choice – How awesome would it be to flip open God’s Word and find it speak to your specific set of circumstances; or better yet, receive a direct line to God’s throne of grace?

I have good news. Although God doesn’t speak audibly to us, we do have 24/7/365 access to Him.

Hebrews 4:16 tells us that He wants us to come to Him in prayer.

Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (NKJV)

So when you’re facing that tough decision, look to God’s Word for guidance, talk to Him directly through prayer and also seek the godly counsel of others.

We see this pattern in Scripture.

  • Paul challenges Timothy to study God’s Word, because it is His inspired message given for our benefit (2 Timothy 2:15 and 3:15-16).
  • Paul mentored Timothy whom he called “his son in the faith.” (I Timothy 1:2)
  • Paul’s writings are filled with beautiful prayers for the churches. (Philippians 1:9-11, Colossians 1:9-12)
  • James tells us to “pray for one another,” because prayer makes a difference. (James 5:16)
  • Jesus Himself models a life of prayer for us to imitate. (Mark 1:35)

The fork in the road

I’m learning that our response to the road we’re called to travel is more important than the road itself.

Don’t we all want to do some grand thing for Christ? Yet as we know, life is full of chores to be done, tasks we may not like, and situations we would never have chosen for ourselves.

Yet those very things – the mountains, the valleys and the bears – are God’s tools to refine us to become more like His Son.

This year, I’m reading through Oswald Chambers’ My Utmost for His Highest. The entry for August 30 spoke to my heart and this very subject.

 … remember that wherever you are, you are put there by God; and by the reaction of your life on the circumstances around you, you will fulfill God’s purpose, as long as you keep in the light as God is in the light.

Keep in the light and close to God, and you won’t have to face the bears alone.

~ Miss Kristen

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