Peace in the Valley


May I tell you a little story? A true story. Ok, I will speak:

When I was boy around ten, I remember a particular time visiting my grandparents in Texas. They were humble country folk who had a farm in central Texas most of their life. And I loved making the trip to visit them for many reasons. Not the least of which was the love that exuded from being in their presence.

And they loved all us grandchildren like we were princes and princesses. This particular time I walked in while they were sitting and talking at the kitchen table.

I joined them just in time to hear my grandmother say, “Thomas, why is it you have to talk of death so much!?” My granddad said, “Well-ll, goood gahlly-gee, mother (he called her mother on such occasion of her challenges). It’s the only dang thing I c’n be shurr abaout in this world!” Papa drew out his sentences rather slowly in speaking. Kinda like he wanted to be sure he said what he meant. It was his way of speaking, which was always very endearing to me having been born in Texas but raised in the Keweenaw. Mema laughed over his answer; Papa chuckled. Smiling, I pondered his nugget of wisdom.

~

Time Like a River Moves Forward

I am not in a hurry.

I’m still in Christ’s service at His call whatever it may be.

Even though my Seventy-fifth birthday salutes me in greeting, rather than a shaking of hands as in times past.

Though I think about graduation often. The Lord said we should. It’s the only dang thing we can be sure of in this confused world. And it has a way of keeping our eyes on the One Main thing in life.

I have embraced my peace with the Almighty as He continues to develop it. None in Christ need be concerned about departing this world, for then our mortality is swallowed up by life [Disclaimer: my flesh will continue to fear death, because…well, it just isn’t going with me when I fly away to glory]. Absent from the body is to be present with the Lord, Paul, in Christ tells us. The journey between “absent from” and “present with” may still be a mystery. However, trusting the Lord through the journey of life fills me with trust in Him for the last journey.

The following can comfortably be interpreted as our physical life on earth being a shadow in comparison to imperishable eternal life:

[“For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. 5 Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.”]

2 Corinthians 5:4-5

A Little Background

When change came [The Salvage Man Cometh], captivated unto total and unconditional surrender, the Lord made it clear He wanted to develop within me a continuingly closer relationship with Him. It meant other than a stroll under bright skies and endless sunshine. Neither did it mean a jaunt down a gently rolling meadow-path, summer’s walk.

A generous amount of mental, emotional, and physical pain, as well as loss, has been an instrument of precision in my Maker’s hand. I regret none of it for what He has brought about – the intimacy of knowing Him.

In Christ’s story, there is a place where He says, “there will always be wars and rumors of wars.” I soon came to the assumption He put that there meaning it personally for me, thousands of years before I came to planet ‘Warfare.’

As I walked further along in the way, I met a few other fellow travelers. While comparing notes with them I learned they, too, had such workings with Him. I concluded, therefore, intimacy with God was a request common to all His followers.

But walking even further, I met many who were surprised at the thought of it being possible to have close, intimate relations with God while still on earth.

Was I surprised they never considered it? I pondered this information and added it to my growing understanding of God’s ways as He continued leading me.

Still learning

“Many are called, but few are chosen” (Matt. 22:14). All are not selected to have the same relationship with the Lord. However, all are called to have a connection with Him. Therefore, many who think it is enough to believe there is a God and leave it at that are sadly mistaken. It is a matter of the eighteen inches (or 45 cm) between the heart and the mind. If there is a disconnect in that span the soul shrinks. Can we believe if we don’t also experience inner change?

At the center of care for the heart is the love of God. This must be the joyful aim of our life. That is why Jesus stated that the first commandment is to: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength” (Mark 12:30). This is a command. It is something we are to do, and something we can do. We will learn how to do it if we intend to do it. God will help and encourage us, and we will find the way in following Him.

Whomsoever is willing can; this by way of calling to mind the true majesty of God in sincere, deep and lengthy thoughts on the attributes of God. It grows. God feeds the hunger enough to grow increasingly hungry to know more of God.

Were there ever lesser things I thought more worthy than knowing God? Yes, but they have been lost in my vapor trail (items discarded) over the length of years, having so swiftly passed.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving
    and his courts with praise;
    give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;

    his faithfulness continues through all generations. Psalm 100:4-5

Epilogue

Relevant Note: My 75th BD salutes me as it arrives. And I remember, it is the age my grandpa went home to be with the Lord. He followed my grandmother by a year. So it seemed suitable for me to pause, ponder, and reflect.

I mentioned to my doctor I never expected to make it this far. He said he could understand that with my medical history. I laughed. He didn’t appreciate my humor. I explained I didn’t refer to my medical history. It’s about my life’s background and how God’s humongous saving grace was involved all the way! He smiled, saying he understood that as well. He’s three years older than me and loves the Lord. That’s why he’s still my doctor. We communicate.

Épilogue Post Script:

I questioned whether to post this because, after all, one just doesn’t write about their own mortality in polite society, this being America. I went back and forth, “should I should, or should I shouldn’t?” I didn’t write about my Seventieth BD. Maybe I should wait till my Eightieth. Then I remembered again. “Death is the only thing we can be sure of in this world.”

We are not guaranteed tomorrow, let alone five years down the road. That goes for whatever age we happen to be. By ignoring it, maybe it would be an affront to God’s grace. It is He who holds our time in His hands. Psalm 90 says man’s days are 70 years or 80 years if strong. Therefore, I look at every year past 70 as being God’s extending gift of grace.

As such, I give to God, in Christ, all glory for His manifold grace, mercy, and loving-kindness, of which He has led me thus far through it all!

Prayer

Thank you, Our Father, for the thrill of reaching this mile-marker, and with it another Ebenezer of Remembrance. Thank You for EVERYTHING! Your sweet cups, and Your bitter cups. In the Name of the most precious gift You have given me, Jesus my Savior, Your Son. And the indwelling of Your Holy Spirit, a foretaste of Your kingdom come to earth. Great is Your Faithfulness! Amen.

~G.W. (just thinking…on things past, present, and future.)


For Further Reference:

24 thoughts on “Peace in the Valley”

  1. This post touched my heart so much! I’m so glad you did post it. Not sure when your birthday is or was, but Happiest of Birthdays! Every year more we are given is a true blessing of the Lord. I thank Him for all the bitter and sweet cups I’ve drank from throughout my life so far.
    Loved the story about your grandparents. It made me smile big this morning! Happy Sunday, and may you have many more birthdays! 🤗

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your heart-felt comment, Renee! Yes, I’m sure every BD throughout our lives is a true blessing from the Lord. So glad you liked my grandparents. The introduction is just the tip of so many remembrances I have of them. March 4th was my BD, thank you for your BD blessing. God bless you this Lord’s Day!

      Like

  2. Yes, it certainly feels like death is the only thing that is a sure thing these days. After all, no one will ever make it out of the this world alive. Thankfully, God’s mercies are as reliable as the sunrise. They are new every morning. God Bless!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m sorry if it was taken in a negative sense. I meant it as a beginning, not the ending for the Christian, thinking of Philippians 1:21-22. I may have failed at communicating that well enough. Guess my pencil needs sharpening. Blessings.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I understood your intentions, G.W. My mind just got stuck on the “certainty of death” part. I’m 20 years behind you, but think about growing older now more than I used to. I’m also guilty of being a chronic “scanner” of posts. I get hug up on the first good point and skim over the rest. I will go back and read your post again, brother. God Bless!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Thank you for the clarification, David. I sometimes think the old brain popped too many cells and didn’t do what I thought I did! Ha. Thank you! God Bless, brother!!

          Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, my friend!
      Thank you for your BD blessing, and Happy Birthday! to you again, my friend!
      We who are “March-ing, March forth” together, right? Ha ha.

      Like

  3. GW, there is so much in this incredible post to comment on but I’m going to focus on the most important thing to me which is wishing you a Happy 75th Birthday! As I read each section, I was reminded time and again how good the Lord is to the body of Christ by keeping in its ranks those like you who have walked much of the journey of life in His presence. Those who have weathered the good, the bad, the ugly and have remained faithful to our Savoir and continue to walk humbly in His presence. Those with a “silver crown of glory” who are an inspiration and encouragement to those of us whose silver is only beginning to creep in. Thank you GW for loving the Lord with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength! Thank you for loving us your readers so much that you share what the Lord puts on your heart. May the Lord continue to bless the work of your hand. (and now I’m going to go back and reread your post because there are some points I want to copy into my journal for further reflection)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so very much, Beth, for your BD blessings! As I read through your very kind comment and all you picked up from my thoughts, I saw things for the first time I didn’t realize was there. I was very humbled by your very kind insights, to say the least.
      I thought I should have said it with fewer words, felt the article was too long to keep anybody’s attention. But after twenty-six rewrites I didn’t see how it could be further shortened without cutting through the living flesh of it. So, your words not only encouraged, but have brightened my day so very much! Thank you so much, Beth!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree, Jim. Some were eager to learn more. Some shrugged it off. One I remember asked what the minimum was he could follow Jesus to “just get by?” I asked why he would gamble with salvation? He could only lose.
      Good comment! Thanks for reading, Jim.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Happy Birthday, GW!!!

    “one just doesn’t write about their own mortality in polite society, this being America.” – you are right. I think your grand dad had the right approach to it! I may tuck that remark into my memory and use it for myself some day!

    Liked by 1 person

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