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« A Place of Broad Rivers | Main | Crying Without Tears »

Hills and Valleys

“But the land which you cross over to possess is a land of hills and valleys, which drinks water from the rain of heaven.” Deuteronomy 11:11.


Topography significantly impacts Bible history.  Seas, rivers, brooks, wadis, mountains, hills, valleys, plains, caves and deserts weave topographical features into familiar names and stories.  Jacob crossed the Brook Jabbok to dream about his ladder to heaven.  Moses climbed Mt. Sinai to receive the ten commandments.  Aaron and Hur held up the arms of Moses on a hill in Rephidim so Israel could prevail against the enemy Amalek.  Lot chose the well-watered plains of Jordan.  Elijah sought refuge in a cave where God fed him by sending ravens with food.  Moses fled to the backside of the desert to keep the sheep of his father-in-law Jethro. 

The place where these events occurred had a definite effect on whatever happened there.  Life does not happen as a series of random occurrences that make no sense.  The reason God leads us to certain places is because we will learn something there because of the very circumstances surrounding the event. 

I am always surprised that people are so surprised about the things that happen to them in life. Surprise happens when the thing you think is going to happen doesn’t—or its opposite does.  God (it would seem) aggravates people daily with a pathway filled with dips and turns, rockslides and icy patches, potholes and one-lane bridges—all of it simultaneously tantalizing and frustrating.  The pathway plays no favorites. Manufacturers equip motor vehicles with shock absorbers because any attempt to force the pathway to conform to the driver’s expectations meets with bone-jarring jolts. It’s up to you to adapt to the pathway, not the other way around. 

The pathway to a growing life is dynamic, not static. Truth remains the same and principles stay constant, but changing circumstances and an array of variables along the way insure that you will never really figure it all out. It doesn’t matter how old you are or how far you’ve come, you have not been this way before. Your experience has only qualified you to understand yourself to some degree; it has not licensed you to manage your pathway. 

As you negotiate the turns, curves and obstacles that constitute your pathway, you will change. Whether you move on enlightened or angered, helped or hurt, wiser or more puzzled, dead or alive depends upon how you react. Any reaction that suspends the learning experience, like anger or despair, brings your journey to a halt.  You will not progress until you get these reactions in hand, overcome them and go on.  And, when the road that unfolds before you meets the distant horizon, you cannot even be sure which way it goes from there.  You can be sure of only one thing:  another learning opportunity awaits you.

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