3 Ways to Find Hope in the ValleyI had a case of the post vacation blues driving home from our summer vacation.  We had so much fun and I didn’t want it to end.

We were heading down the mountain from a very special place nestled in the beauty of Kings Canyon—a place called Hume Lake Christian Camp.

This place has had a huge impact in my life ever since I was in high school. It’s here where my faith has grown and I have felt the presence of God working in my life.

This year we went to family camp. My children attended day camp while my husband and I were able to have some free time and listen to a speaker.

During family time we played Frisbee golf, rented boats, caught tadpoles and frogs, rode bikes, swam in the pool and ate 3 buffet meals a day where I didn’t have to cook or clean!

Since we didn’t have cell phone service we weren’t distracted by emails, voice mails and texts. 

There’s something glorious about being in God’s creation and seeing His majesty and power.

It’s always disheartening when the mountain top experience is over and we have to head back down the hill.

As soon as my cell phone service kicked in I had 300 emails, 19 texts, and a bunch of voice mails. The reality of real life hits quick. There were bills to pay, school forms to fill out, 4 school supply lists and doctor appointment reminders.

Oh, and did I mention a birthday party to plan? Soon all of the stresses seemed to invade and it became harder to see God in a way that felt as real as it did on that mountain.

But God knows and understands the stress we feel in daily life.

I believe God gives us glimpses of his glory so that we can transpose them into the valleys of life. We hang onto these experiences to help get us through the mundane as we remember His remarkable work in our lives.

Peter had a mountaintop experience when he witnessed the transfiguration of Christ.  He saw the glory that Jesus had with God before the world began.

Peter was allowed a deeper understanding of the deity of Christ when God incarnate shone like the sun as Jesus’ clothes became as white as the light. The unfiltered glory of God was displayed to Peter.

This encounter became a faith marker for Peter during his journey with Jesus.

He recalls it in 2 Peter 1:16-21

“For we were not making up clever stories when we told you about the powerful coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. We saw his majestic splendor with our own eyes when he received honor and glory from God the father. The voice from the majestic glory of God said to him, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy. We ourselves heard that voice from heaven when we were with him on the holy mountain.”

Can you imagine hearing the actual voice of God?

When Peter saw the glory of God he felt His desperate need for Him.

The Holiness of God

 

Peter would later feel the desperation of his sin when he denied Jesus three times,

Peter was not a perfect follower of Jesus. Neither are we.

But despite his failures, God used him. Peter went on to preach and led thousands to Christ. He was imprisoned for preaching the gospel.

Scripture and some early church history implies that Peter died a martyr and in the Apocrypha, it is claimed he requested to be crucified upside down because he felt he was not worthy to die in the same way as his Lord.

Are you discouraged in your Christian walk?

When you are going through the valleys of life, try finding hope in these three ways.

1. Remember your faith markers. Remember the day you came to know Christ? Remember the day you chose to get baptized and declare your faith and love for the Lord? There’s a history there of Jesus leading you to the truth of His love.

Having an argument with your spouse? Remember your wedding day when you made a covenant to choose to love no matter what?

Faith markers help us to remember God’s faithfulness to us in the past and our commitment. We just need to translate them into everyday life.

2. Remember it’s ok to have ups and downs. Peter knew them all too well. Jesus didn’t give up on Peter even after he denied him three times! Peter was so disillusioned after the death of Jesus that he went back to being a fisherman.

But the resurrected Christ came for Peter while he was fishing. Even though Peter was going through the valley of doubt, Jesus restored him back into ministry.

When you beat yourself up for not being the Christian you try so hard to be, remember that Peter was inconsistent too. God can still use you if you choose to follow Him.

3. Remember to take up your cross. Jesus said in Matthew 16:24:

“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.”

The glory of Jesus is compatible with a cross. The Christian life was never intended to be perfect and pain-free. We can’t expect to feel like we are on the mountain all the time.

Jesus asked Peter three times, “Do you love me?” One question for each time he denied him. Each time Peter professed his love, Jesus told him to feed his sheep.

Jesus asks us the same question. Will we follow him?

Following Jesus means taking up your cross and denying yourself. The joy comes in knowing the one true God through a personal relationship. Since we were created to know our Maker, this brings us fulfillment.

Drawing near to him through prayer and Bible study brings fulfillment.

The only true fulfillment that you will ever find on this earth is through loving and following Jesus.

There is always hope in the valley when you follow Jesus!

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