Trusting In The Valley and the Mountaintop
by Todd Shupe
Jesus warned us that we’d have problems in life. No one is immune from pain or insulated from suffering, and no one gets to skate through life problem-free. You may have heard the old saying “nobody is an atheist in a fox hole.” Many of us turn to God during the difficult times in our lives but then go back to living in the flesh during periods of good times. This is a recurring theme for the Jewish people in the Old Testament and is epitomized by the story of the golden calf in Exodus 32.
The apostle Peter assures us that problems are normal, saying, “Don’t be bewildered or surprised when you go through the fiery trials ahead, for this is no strange, unusual thing that is going to happen to you” (1 Peter 4:12). God uses these problems to draw you closer to Him. The Bible says, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those who are crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18). It is during suffering that we learn to pray our most authentic, heart-felt, honest-to-God prayers. We gain character and hope through our suffering and a closer walk with God. God could have easily kept Joseph out of jail, kept Daniel out of the lion’s den, kept Jeremiah from being tossed into a slimy pit, kept Paul from being jailed, beaten, and shipwrecked three times, and kept the three Hebrew young men from being thrown into the blazing furnace, but he didn’t. He let those problems happen, and each of those people was drawn closer to God as a result.
We trust God with our problems but do we always trust him with everything, including our blessings. Perhaps we should stop and ask ourselves – where do our blessings come from? James 1:17 tells us “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”
Hebrews 11 details the might accomplishments of people of great faith: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Moses. I find it noteworthy that Hebrews 11:31 details the faith of a prostitute. “By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient.”
I like the King James Version of Malachi 2:2. This is important scripture that deals with the consequences of not trusting God. “If ye will not hear, and if ye will not lay it to heart, to give glory unto my name, saith the LORD of hosts, I will even send a curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings: yea, I have cursed them already, because ye do not lay it to heart.” Now, contrast this to the blessed life that awaits us if we do trust Him and trust Him completely.
You’ll never know that God is all you need until God is all you’ve got.
Todd Shupe is the President of DrToddShupe.com and is a well recognized expert on wood-based housing and wood science. Shupe worked as a professor and lab director at LSU for 18 years and Quality Manager for Eco Environmental (Louisville, KY) for 2 years. He is active in several ministries including his Christian blog ToddShupe.com. Todd is the Secretary of the Baton Rouge District of United Methodist Men, Database Coordinator for Gulf South Men, and volunteer for the Walk to Emmaus, Grace Camp, Iron Sharpens Iron, Open Air Ministries, HOPE Ministries food pantry. Todd is currently preparing to be a Men’s Ministry Specialist through the General Commission of United Methodist Men.