Author Steven Lake
  
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The Journal and the Journey
Wednesday, May 6th, 2015 9:44pm
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Ya know, I never really appreciated journaling until I got into my present trials and tribulations.  In fact, I never really saw a good reason to even do it in the first place.  It felt like a complete waste of time.  Well, it was if I was just recording what'd happened, what I'd prayed for, etc like everyone else.  But when I started making it personal, as though writing about what I'm going through and explaining it to someone else, it completely changed my view on the benefits of journaling about my walk with Christ.

It also seems to have a rather therapeutic effect too, almost like doing a diary, but not quite.  It's something greater and far, far more personal.  I've noticed too that sometimes when I'd begin an entry I'd start out with the "woe is me, my life sucks, things are too hard, I hate this, I want out, when will this end Lord, and why won't you free us from these trials?" and by the time I'm done, God has brought to my memory all the times before when it seemed impossible, when things seemed tough and that there was no light at the end of the tunnel of my trails.

And I look at those trials and realize, ya know, compared to now they're not that bad, and even so, they always ended well.  Yes, there was a dark period, and yes, there was pain and sorrow, but as the one song says, there is sunshine on the morrow.  Looking back I realize how much sunshine I have seen on the other side of those dark storm clouds.  I realize that, even though it seemed crushingly dark, God was always with me.  Even though the trial seemed tough, God always carried me through.  And the most amazing part is, the best is yet to come.

Even so I still remember how, even though those days seemed so, so dark, the other side was so amazingly bright that the once crushing darkness was nothing but a bleary shadow in the distance.  I can't say that I ever saw that before I was saved, but absolutely I did in spades afterwards.  It kinda reminds me of the story in the gospels where the disciples cried, "Lord, save us, we're drowning" and with a simple word Jesus calmed the seas.  In the end, even though all seemed hopeless and lost, one word from the Savior and the storm went away.

I think we should always remember that.  Yes, our trials are hard.  Yes, the days are difficult, but in the end our Savior is always with us, always carrying us, and always there at the end of the valley.  As Psalm 23 said, "Yay, though I walk through the VALLEY of the SHADOW of death, I shall fear no evil, for thou art with me.  Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me."  What we are going through, even in the darkest of times, is only a valley.  Valleys aren't endless, just like mountains aren't either.  And to get to your next mountain top experience, you must walk through the valley of the shadow of death.

Always remember, it's just a SHADOW.  They can't harm you, even though they can unsettle you as they make it difficult to see where you're going, and where your feet are falling on the rough, rocky earth.  But even if we can't see the way on our own, Jesus is a lamp to our feet, and a light to our path.  He lights our way, and even though we often can't see more than a step or two ahead, it's comforting to know that Jesus can, and since it's He who guides us, that's all we need.  We merely need to trust Him to lead us in the right path and the right way, and not trust ourselves.

It's too easy to fall into those gigantic, nasty, gaping pits of even worse suffering and pain, or even possibly death, if we stray away from the path that Christ has lit before us, the path we are to follow, the path He is leading us on through the valley.  And lastly, always remember, the deeper your valley, the higher your mountain top will be, and the longer in the valley you are, the longer on the mountain top you will remain.  So no matter how dark it gets, how deep the valley, or how black the night, always remember, Jesus walks by our side day and night, and during those times when we can't go on, He carries us, always forward, always on towards the light of eternity, and the blessed hope we all wait for.

So hang in there guys.  It won't be long now.  Just stick it out and trust in Christ, and in time God will bless you beyond measure.  But you've gotta tough it out and keep forging ahead until then. :)

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