“… He leads me beside still waters, somewhere in the valley below; He draws me aside to be tested and tried, and in the valley He restores my soul.” In a second verse of that same song, are these lyrics: “And I question, ‘Lord why must this be?’ ”
In the Spring I had an extended bout with bronchitis. While very ill, I was rejoicing that it had not gone into pneumonia. Along with the bronchitis I had what I thought was laryngitis. In spite of a compromised voice, I fulfilled several speaking engagements and even competed in two speech contests, placing second in both! Since the voice issues lingered long after the bronchitis had cleared, I was referred to an ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat) doctor who determined with one quick test that I have a paralyzed vocal cord on the left side.
That is just about the worst news a professional speaker could receive! And in my depraved humanity, I asked, “Lord, why must this be?” Why would you choose to afflict me in the one organ that impacts my ability to earn a living? What’s a professional speaker to do?
Oh, my! How dangerously close to outright rebellion those questions are! I confess to having asked them, but God in his gracious kindness and tenderness has rebuked me. Certainly he is not intimidated by my questioning, but there is great risk to me if I languish and wallow in self-pity and fail to see his loving hand. It is here that I must turn the questioning into praise because of who I know my God to be.
Thank you that you love me too much to allow anything in my life that is not for my good or your glory;
Thank you that once again your strength can be made perfect in my weakness;
Thank you that you have faithfully met my needs throughout life;
Thank you for showing my pride in thinking anything was up to me;
Thank you for “peace in the midst of my storm.”
Another thing I know about my God is that any trial he allows is part of a plan much greater than I could ever comprehend this side of Heaven, and my little part is very insignificant and not at all about me. It is possible that Christ could take a raspy voice and use it for his glory to an even greater extent. It is also possible that the door of public speaking is closing for me. Then, perhaps there are other untried doors about to open. While waiting upon the Lord for his direction, my part is to “stand still and see the salvation of the Lord.”
I have been in God’s valley more than once in my life. Thankfully, he does not allow me to linger long or languish in “Why me?” Instead, he nourishes my heart in green pastures and calms my soul beside still waters that restore and enable me to walk in paths of righteousness FOR HIS NAME’S SAKE! With praise to my Savior, I am no longer in the valley. I’m just changing mountains!
The Lord be praised!
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