Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Lessons From the Valley and Its River

I hadn't planned to climb that steep hill that would take me back to the hiking trail, but as I looked around, I noticed that I had wandered from the main trail and followed a deer path that eventually brought me this hill side.

"Is there a reason, Lord, that you brought me to this place? Is there something that you want to show me in this valley?"

As I looked around me, I noticed the hillside covered with the fall colored oak leaves that noisily rustled under my feet. Even though it was late in the season, the sun was bright and it was still plenty warm.

Squirrels chattered on the other side of the brook, that gently flowed amidst the two hills.

Before my eyes I saw a rock about the size of a soccer ball. It was caught in the branches of a bush. The branches prevented it from rolling further down. Playfully I removed the rock from its restraint and watched it roll further down the hill but not very far, for soon it took a little sideways bounce, clashed against a tree and stopped with a thud. Once again it was restricted from fully rolling to the very bottom. It is interesting to note that any object when free of restraints will find the lowest place, which in the example above it is the gently flowing brook.

To me a valley represents a place of humility and its river the place of blessing. Just as the river flows and nourishes the valley, so blessings enrich our lives, Blessings flow where arrogance and pride are absent. When we humbly prefer and regard others above ourselves, the blessing is inevitable. Just as we have no control over the origin of the river, nor where it leads, so the blessing is outside of our realm but simply touches our lives. Any restrictions on our descent to humility, such as dishonesty, selfishness, malice, etc., will keep us from a living a full life.

What would it take in our lives to reach that place of blessing? What are the restrictions that prevent us from living what Jesus called 'an abundant life'?

Casey Overbeek 2009

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