December 1, 2019
Emanuel, God With Us
In The Valley He Restores My Soul
Just about every character in Scripture went through a low or difficult season in their life. Abraham despaired of having a son of his own and was planning on bequeathing his fortune to his servant. Then when he did get a son of his own, Isaac, God asked him to sacrifice him. Jacob really had ups and downs; having to run from his brother for fear of his life, being cheated by his father-in-law, wrestling with an angel all night. Joseph’s downs were more than his ups for many years: sold into slavery by his brothers, lied about by his owner’s wife, forgotten in prison by the fellow prisoner for whom he had he interpreted a dream. The problems Moses had with the Israelites in leading them out of Egypt are well documented. These all depended upon God and His presence in their lives. In fact, Moses said, “If your presence does not go with us, do not send us from here.” Ex. 33:15.
Those are just a few examples. God has never promised that when we invite Him into our lives, that everything will be a bed of roses. In fact, just the opposite is true. Jesus said “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart. I have overcome the world. John 16:33. As Pastor Ben stated on Sunday, it is in the valley or low seasons of our lives that we get to know God most.
I have lived a long life and have been through many difficult and low seasons. I said once, God gave me four sons, and every one of them has driven me to prayer. But one of the most difficult experiences I had is now one of my most precious memories. My husband was born and raised in Holland. In 1970 we were asked to come to Holland to help in a ministry with a group of Dutch-Indonesian church. After praying about it, we felt it was the Lord’s leading and sold our house and a lot of our belongings and stored the rest. Shortly after we arrived in Holland, I discovered I was pregnant with our third child. We were stationed in a town in central Holland called Ede to pastor a small church. Our oldest son, Steve, was in 5th grade, and the transition into a Dutch school with the language difference was too difficult for him, so we enrolled him in the American school on a base about an hour from where we lived.
One morning on their way to school, my husband was in a car accident. The car was totaled and my husband and son ended up in the hospital. Thankfully their injuries were not serious. I was alone in our apartment with son, Mark, age 5, with no telephone and no means of transportation and very little knowledge of the Dutch language. A wonderful man from our congregation broke the news to me and drove me to the hospital. When Sunday arrived, a minister was sent to fill the pulpit in the church. He expressed how happy he was to be there, made no mention of my husband and did not lead in prayer for him. That afternoon he visited Ted in the hospital and told him the Lord was trying to talk to him.
My reaction was, we sold almost everything we had, came clear around the world because we felt the Lord was leading us, but he had to put my husband in the hospital to talk to him? It was one of the lowest points in my life. If I would have had a phone, I would have called my Mom!!! But the only person with me was my 5-year-old son. That evening I called out to the Lord. Do you want us to stay here? Do these people even want us here? What should we do? What are we going to do without a car? How is everything going to get paid for? I picked up my Bible and thought, “I’ll read my favorite Psalm,” which was Psalm 34. As I thumbed through the Bible the thought came to my mind, “No, read Psalm 37.” I had no idea what Psalm 37 said. I turned to Psalm 37 in my King James Bible (only translation we had then.) and began to read. When I came to verse 3, the words jumped off the page!! I knew it was God speaking to me. “Trust in the Lord and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.” My questions were all answered in that one verse. We were to stay in Holland, do the work of ministry and God would take care of us!! And that’s what happened. We stayed in Holland for four years.
P.S. My third son was born 2 months after that incident and 2 ½ years later, Pastor Ben was born.
A song written by Dottie Rambo, expresses the message from Sunday so well, I want to share it here.
IN THE VALLEY HE RESTORES MY SOUL
When I'm low in spirit I cry Lord lift me up
I want to go higher with Thee
But the Lord Knows I can't live on a mountain
so He picked out a valley for me
He leads me beside still waters
somewhere in the valley below
He draws me aside
to be tested and tried
but in the valley He restoreth my soul
It's dark as a dungeon
and the sun seldom shines
And I question Lord why must this be
Then He tells me there's strength in my sorrow
and there's victory in trials for me.