Wednesday, August 19, 2009

“Nothing Grows at 20,000 Feet”

In nature the edge of the habitat at which trees are capable of growing is known as the tree line. Once you rise above the tree line only less complex forms of vegetation are able to survive. Just past the tree line small shrubs grow, but as you climb higher and higher the vegetation simplifies until soon you find only mosses and algae. Some mountains are so high that due to the lack of oxygen and the extreme cold, no life whatsoever is able to exist there.

From the top of the mountain a climber is able to see the lushness of the valley below. In the valley, life flourishes with a wide array of species of trees, shrubs, grasses, and flowers. Wildlife of all forms flourish there as well. Although the view from the top of the mountain is great, nothing grows there, and even the mountain climber himself cannot linger at the top very long, for his strength will quickly decay due to lack of oxygen.

In life we love to live in our mountain top experiences. We want to linger where we are happy, healthy, and prosperous. We want to live in that place of peace; where all is well and no enemies are harassing us or bringing us pain and anxiety. But such moments are rare and certainly don’t seem to last long when they do come. Troubles and pain seem to be our constant companions. As one issue is resolved, a new problem follows on its heals; just like one wave follows the next when the morning tide rolls in from the ocean. Pain, heartaches, fears, relationship struggles, financial difficulties, disease and death always seem to be skulking around- stocking us, waiting for an opportunity to strike. And strike they do, on nearly a daily basis.

It is in these times, when troubles are piling up on me and my heart is full of despair, that I am tempted to question God's goodness. I begin to ask God, 'where are you, and why don’t you care about my pain?' It is in these moments that I must remind myself that “Nothing grows at 20,000 feet” The view is awesome from the mountaintop but spiritual growth is absent there. It is in the valley, that abundant growth happens. If I am to become spiritually strong and mature I must use these valley times to allow God to strengthen my faith muscles and bring “beauty from pain.”

It is in the valley of fear, when I’m seeing dangers lurking all around me, threatening to destroy my family, that I can learn that “though I walk through the (deep, sunless) valley of the shadow of death, I will not fear or dread evil, for you (Jesus) are with me. Your rod (to protect) and your staff (to guide), they comfort me” Psm. 23:4 Amp

It is in the valley of lack, when the car is back in the repair shop for the third time in two months, and I don’t have the money to pay for it, that I can learn to trust Jesus for my provision. “My cup runs over. Surely only goodness, mercy, and unfailing love shall follow me all the days of my life.” Psm. 23:5-6 Amp

It is in the valley of sickness and disease, when my body is overcome with weakness, that I must learn anew to trust in Jesus sacrifice and to lean upon the Word when it says, “with his stripes we are healed.” Isa. 53:5

It is in the valley of sorrow that I can learn to say as Job did, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in Him.” Job 13:15

The scripture clearly teaches that Satan comes to kill, steal, and destroy. Yet we are so accustomed to our lives being filled with these things that we seldom recognize their true source. John Eldridge, in his book Waking the Dead writes, "this is a world at war. We live in a far more dramatic, far more dangerous story than we ever imagined. The reason we love “The Chronicles of Narnia” or “Star Wars” or “The Matrix” or “The Lord of The Rings” is that they are telling us something about our lives that we never, ever get on the evening news. Or from most pulpits. “This is our most desperate hour.” …Things are not as they seem. This is a world at war.”

We truly are at war against the kingdom of darkness that is bent on our destruction. It desires to keep us in fear and despair, keep our hearts from being healed, keep our bodies sick, and most of all; keep us from relationship with Jesus who has the power to free us from all these things. The day will come when Satan will be thrown into the lake of fire and God will wipe away all our tears and there will be no more sorrow, pain, or death. (Rev. 21:4) These things are not part of God's Kingdom and are not His will for us. That is why Jesus taught us to pray “Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” Matt. 6:9 Once we recognize that many of our troubles are attacks from our spiritual enemy, we can use spiritual warfare to battle back. “Truly I tell you, whoever says to this mountain, be lifted up and thrown into the sea! And does not doubt at all in his heart but believes that what he says will take place, it will be done for him.” Mark 10:17 Amp “The seventy returned with joy, saying, Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!” Luke 10:17 Amp

Remember, “Nothing grows at 20,000 feet,” So tomorrow when another wave of troubles come at you, designed to steal your joy and kill your heart, tell Satan that you are not falling for his tricks and bind him in the name of Jesus. Then pour the fertilizer of God's Word upon yourself and grow your way back to the mountaintop.

“All things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose.” Roman 8:28

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