ISAIAH 40:4-5, 29-31 KJV
WHEN VALLEYS BECOME EXALTED
Disruptions, disappointments, betrayals, exclusions, deferred advancements, inappropriate dislodge of power, sickness, class bias, racial bias, gender bias, depression, destruction, disintegration of the dignity and the worth of human lives, prisons who capitalize on the births of African American males not yet born by projecting their life-paths by the age of three, wars that claim the lives of many who serve forever transforming the lives of their family members, famine, disease, brokenness, hopelessness, poverty, and the waste of the sanctity of innocent lives in the world as a consequence of war, greed, experimentation, and economics are a fraction of the plethora of valleys in which the beloved of GOD reside. Valleys, a place where the triumph of hope over experience stacks the odds of success, survival, prosperity, victorious living, self-empowerment, self-efficacy, solidarity, and community unity against the beloved of GOD! Pandemic unemployment, the United States work force crisis, disintegration in social and work ethics, drug-addicted babies who die as a consequence of having in utero exposure to drugs, children in Africa and India who die by the dozens as a consequences of malnutrition, revenue spent on the development of penal systems, and revenue retracted from budgets for recreation; music; humanities; liberal arts curriculums all of which are presently defunct in the public school system as they are not deemed a significant enough investment, but are on the brink merges. Blatant racism tempered by little regard and/or awareness of the seriousness and implication of deep-cutting infractions against the humanness of other human beings who have contributed to the prosperity of this nation, flagrant political mudslinging, and the celebration and sensationalism of superficial matters, like those who make the best-dressed list in the entertainment spotlight are types of valleys in which those who are admired and those who aspire to be admired define self-worth, recognition, validation, and acceptance.
Geographically expressed, a VALLEY is a low area of land surrounded by higher areas such as a hill(s) and/or mountains. VALLEYS are like that of a depression in the surface of a mountain.
As we reflect upon the Biblical Scripture above, one of the common themes to which we bear witness is the presence and the reality of valleys. We encounter glimpses of VALLEYS when we become witness bearers to the lament of Hagar, The Egyptian Woman Servant, who cries beneath a tree when she feared the death of her son and Abraham's son, Ishmael, subsequent to being banished by Sarah. We become witness bearers to those who are placed in depressions (VALLEYS) when we travail with Joseph whose brothers sought his demise by placing him in a well and leaving him for dead!. Lastly, we encounter desolation and the "dark night of the soul" when we are witness bearers to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ who asks The FATHER about the psychology and dynamic of forsakenness as he lay nailed and dying.
While VALLEYS are present throughout the world and cover the globe without regard to status, ethnicity, or bloodline, they become a place where suffering is so great that the BELOVED OF GOD have become immune to and/or anesthetized by their immensity and profundity! Moreover, the passion of living abundantly and joyously appears to have been abducted by the sobering reality that hearts of too many of GOD'S people are becoming apathetic because VALLEYS have become places where GOD'S PEOPLE have come to believe that they are destined to reside! Consequently, far too many of the LORD'S people have given up, given out, and have given in because they believe that their tears nor their desolate state in the VALLEY do not touch the heart of a loving and gracious GOD! In essence, climbing out of the VALLEY appears to require too much work and does not appear to avert one's present suffering. Consequently, GOD'S BELOVED are born there, live there, and die there; not because they are destined too, but because they falsely believe that they are destined to! Help us GOD!
In essence, VALLEYS are not only places where one THE BELOVED physically reside, but VALLEYS are places where THE BELOVED emotionally and psychologically reside as well! VALLEYS are the places in our lives the cause far too many gifted, talented, and spiritually-grounded persons to abandon the necessity of hope, the quest of of dreaming, and the perseverance to bring those dreams into fruition because the fear of the height, the breadth, scope, and the depth of the mountains that are before us appear insurmountable! VALLEYS are those places when the persons we love die! VALLEYS are the places where hearts have been broken! VALLEYS are the places where betrayal is flagrant and commonplace! VALLEYS are the places where suicide reigns because the beauty of life has become scared by ugliness and despair and the quick way out appears to be the only way out! VALLEYS are the places where kindness and gratitude are virtues of a by-gone era! VALLEYS are the places where feel-good drugs are considered common-place and cool because reality appears like the fantasy and fantasy like reality! VALLEYS are the places where me, myself, and I are the only persons about whom "love thy neighbor" dare to become intimate! VALLEYS are the places where persons are placed on psychological and emotional probation, not so much because the convicted has not made atonement for his/her ways, but because far too many of THE BELOVED are sitting in the seat of JUDGE, PROSECUTOR and JUROR! VALLEYS!
While VALLEYS in and of themselves can extinguish life, VALLEYS are also places where man's DESTINY meets GOD'S DIVINITY! In other words, VALLEYS are the places that the power, breath, depth, scope, and infiniteness of GOD'S omnipotence becomes manifested! Simply stated, VALLEYS can become places where one comes to the reality of the power of and the necessity of the intervention of GOD! African -Americans in servitude and slavery endured their harsh realities because many were born lived, and died in the VALLEY, but died with an awareness that their off-spring who be exalted from the VALLEY via the power of GOD!!
The "Word OF GOD" reminds us that GOD gives power to the weary and faint in the VALLEY! GOD promises to exalt every low place [VALLEY] and lower every high place [mountains] that are oppressive to those ensnared by VALLEY experiences. In the VALLEY where there are crooked and rough paths, GOD promises to straighten and smooth the path of the journey of HIS BELOVED! Consequently, when we are in the VALLEY, the good news is that GOD is in the VALLEY with us as well and it is by the gracious presence of The Holy Spirit that HE enables us to absorb the shock of a deepening spirituality that can only be yielded via VALLEY encounters! We are witness bearers via the Prophets in the Old Testament who remind us that our strength, fortitude, vision, hope, song, and petitions are often conveyed to the LORD not only by words, but via our moans and groans and tears which the HOLY SPIRIT maketh intercession from the VALLEY! The petitions of the BELOVED OF GOD provokes the gentle hand of GOD to carry the Beloved Wounded over mountains, through valleys, and across oceans. In VALLEYS of distress, lean on GOD! In VALLEYS of brokenness, rely on GOD, In VALLEYS of numbness cling to GOD! In VALLEYS of confusion, trust GOD! In VALLEYS of grief, be comforted by GOD! In VALLEYS of despair, place your hope in GOD! In VALLEYS of disappointments, tell GOD! In VALLEYS of war, pray to GOD! In VALLEYS of stagnation, surrender to GOD! In VALLEYS of brokenness, give "it" over to GOD! In VALLEYS of loneliness, be comforted by GOD! In VALLEYS of transition, love GOD! Subsequently, as each event/narrative unfolds, we become witness bearers to the transformative power of VALLEYS as we are reminded the life happens and that VALLEYS then become Oh' Blessed VALLEY OF GOD! When we encounter Jesus in our suffering and when everything familiar to us appears to be communicated via our VALLEY experiences, Jesus touches us in a way that causes our suffering and brokenness to become our comfort and strength. Throughout the sacred text; i.e., from the book Genesis to the book of Revelation, we as the Beloved Community of GOD are petitioned to embrace the spiritual necessity that the Divine Journey will summons the necessity of the VALLEY in our lives.
When we abandon the parameters of human reason alone and "tap" the consciousness of GOD, our lives become transformed in our realization that our lives are really not our own, but gifts birthed by the unfathomable love of GOD! The Holy Spirit causes something to happen to us, with us, and in us as we know that victory and triumph can only come from divine intervention which on many occasions has been activated by the VALLEY! As each of us progresses on our journey to the Celestial City of GOD, may the loving and gracious hand of GOD comfort you in response to your VALLEYS. May the words that only your tears can render expression grant you peace and release.
ISAIAH 55: 11
So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.
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