Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Valleys of Sorrow

Last week was my turn to teach the 1-3rd graders for Sunday School. We have a funky rotation with three teachers. This week the promise focused on was
God will always be with you
Isaiah 43:2
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;

when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you.

There was a wonderful illustration of a Mansion on a hilltop with valleys and rivers and rocks and obstructions between it and a shack on a hill top on the other side. The person is the mansion desperately loves the person in the shack and wants them to come live with him.
How is the person in the shack going to get to that mansion?

Second illustration
How did you learn to ride your bike? Did your parents let you fall?
Didn't they love you?
I asked the kids Why did your parents do that to you?
Micah A. said, "so you will get better."

Here starts the tears, the tears that had started the night before when I didn't know how I was going to get through the lesson....merely because the rest of the lesson focused around Stephen.
Every time I read about the Stephen of the Bible I always thought of my nephew Stephen and used to hope against hope that he wouldn't die that way. And he didn't but he did die.
God was with the Stephen of the New Testament even though he went through a very rough patch which is what the lesson was about. I didn't have to teach that though because in God's infinite wisdom He had one of the other teachers also prepare for the lesson. I was going to let her teach the whole lesson (because she is better anyway) but she said for me to take the first half and she would take the second half. She decided that it was a harsh lesson to teach to the kids and so she used the story of Joseph and how his brothers meant to harm him but God meant it for good.
Oh I am so thankful that God is with us through the valleys, He has not left us alone and that there is something so much greater than the rocks and briers and thorns along this journey and if I can just fix my eyes on that then I will be inordinately better off.
Hand in hand with that Sunday school lesson is this Jars of Clay song that played on my ipod this past Saturday when I got done with my jog and was on it again this morning as I headed out:

Valley Song Lyrics

You have led me to the sadness
I have carried this pain
On a back bruised, nearly broken
I'm crying out to you

I will sing of Your mercy
That leads me through valleys of sorrow
To rivers of joy

When death like a Gypsy
Comes to steal what I love
I will still look to the heavens
I will still seek your face

But I fear you aren't listening
Because there are no words
Just the stillness and the hunger
For a faith that assures

Chorus x2

Alleluia, alleluia
Alleluia, alleluia

While we wait for rescue
With our eyes tightly shut
Face to the ground using our hands
To cover the fatal cut

And though the pain is an ocean
Tossing us around, around, around
You have calmed greater waters
Higher mountains have come down



Alleluia, alleluia
Alleluia, alleluia

Alleluia, alleluia alleluia, alleluia
Alleluia, alleluia alleluia, alleluia

Chorus (4 Xs)

Oh, Lord sing of Your mercy,

We rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.
Romans 5 : 3-4


Gloria said...

That verse has been my companion during some rough patches in my life. I am glad it has brought you comfort too.

sister sheri said...

How much God loves us! I love the comparison to child riding the bike. We would rather keep our training wheels on our bike. Thinking we are content... but how much faster and more fun it is to ride on the two wheels. But we will never know if we hold tight to those training wheels.

Praying for God to comfort you and bring you joy as you think of your nephew.

Colleen said...

so good
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