Lingering in the Lowlands.

 

Not many of us are living at our best. We linger in the lowlands because we are afraid to climb the mountains

Streams in the Desert, L.B. Cowman

It’s good of God to draw invisible lines the way He does, marking a new year, complete with seasons and cycles that repeat.

Who doesn’t desire a built-in fresh start?

“Just wait till January. Then I’ll…”

Unlike past years, 2018 has beckoned me with a hooked finger to let the past sleep in the arms of Jesus and to take bold and invigorated steps toward unchartered wilderness. I have no idea what the stretch of twelve months ahead might offer. Rewarding experiences and answers to relentless prayer? Or will I be led to endure more difficult days?

Likely both. 

Years past, I’ve gazed ahead at the new year as though it were an unscalable mountain. Staring into the mess of the ‘not-yet-answered’ or entwined with the ‘still troubling me’ or quivering before the ‘if only I could’, I’d rather pace the foothills than begin that upward ascent. But that’s where I am challenged to take my eyes off the difficulties and experience the fulfillment of His promises.

It’s where I come to know Him more fully.

To keep feet firmly planted in the lowlands and petulantly long for ease and comfort leads only to unrest and discomfit, the very demons I desire to be rid of. What use are my spiritual hiking boots if I’m not going to lace them up and take the necessary steps out of the misty, sunless valley?

No doubt others have a fixed eye on my decision to climb the mountain and might be emboldened to do the same.

Maybe they’re the ones who live beneath my roof or next door.

They might attend my church or ring up my groceries.

Or reside behind bars.

Or lay curled beneath several blankets on a downtown bench as icy cold wind slices through the street…lingering in fear in the lowlands.

The lowlands are where I hear again the sweet whispers and promises of God before He ushers me upward to test my faith, to accomplish the good works He’s prepared in advance for me to do (Ephesians 2:10). It’s a place to tell others who may be hiding in the shadow of the mount what I’ve learned on my ascent toward the summit.

Refuse to be satisfied with meager accomplishments.

Streams in the Desert.

Join me as I welcome the new year and begin the climb, keeping my gaze on Jesus and His promises rather than my circumstances.

Anyway, it’s for darn sure cold in the lowlands and I, for one, am not a fan of cold anything.

For the Lord will go before you, the God of Israel will be your rear guard. Isaiah 52:12b

4 Comments

  1. Martha Mullins says:

    Perfect for the New Year! AND I just found Oswald’s Chamber! Timely and deep whispers to the heart who is seeking the Lord. May we all hear and heed.

    • Mary Felkins says:

      Thanks, Martha. I’d been constructing that Chamber for a long while before finally publishing it on the Menu on my blog. Oswald Chambers is a gifted preacher/teacher and tells it like it is and I have gained significant spiritual insight from his writings. His directness isn’t for the faint of heart 🙂

  2. Beautiful imagery.
    Are you reading Streams in the Desert this year? I’ve wanted to read it for a long time but never have gotten to it. Let me know what you think and how it compares to My Utmost.

    • Mary Felkins says:

      Yes. I could honestly re-read My Utmost until I’m sick. Love it most and made a goal to assure I’d read through all of it after having begun in 2015. But a friend occasionally sends me Streams devos via text (long texts!) when they’ve been particularly meaningful to my situations so I’m reading it this year. It seems to focus on encouragement in times of suffering and difficulty which has been great. I’ll let you know what I think as I get further along the journey.

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