Hurdles, Mountains and the Valley of Achor

“On the day I called, You answered me;

You made me bold with strength in my soul.”

Psalm 138:3 (NASB)

 

Have you ever felt as though one challenging situation kept following another within your life? Perhaps you even wondered if there was something you could do to make the difficulties stop. Allow this to be refreshment to your heart and soul as you head to class, work or the great outdoors.

 

When hard times enter our lives, our tendency can be to isolate ourselves or fake our way through with a smile. Yet, once we are alone, the reality of the weight of the hardship remains and battles with depression or even doubting God’s goodness may ensue. Girlfriend, at that very moment, drop what you are doing and grab your Bible. Get alone with the Lord and pour your heart out to Him. He is ready to comfort you and sustain you in the midst of it all.

 

“You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.”

Psalm 56:8 (NLT)

 

Regardless of zip codes, time zone or even make-up of our family, each life will experience hurdles, mountain tops as well as the valleys below. If you are in one of life’s valleys now, may I encourage you from the literal desert of the Middle East (Qatar to be specific) from God’s Word.

 

“Therefore, I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her. There I will give her back her vineyards, and will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope. There she will sing as in the days of her youth, as in the days she came up out of Egypt.”

Hosea 2:14-15 (NIV)

 

Ladies, much like God rescued Israel from the hands of Pharaoh in Egypt (Deuteronomy 6:21), He rescues us in our individual stories as well! He will turn our Valley of Achor (which means “trouble”) into hope for His name’s sake. Whether the trouble, hurdle or heart ache you are experiencing is self induced or cause dby another source, hide your face in the Lord. Ask Him to provide you with the boldness and stoutheartedness needed to get to the other side of the valley. He will do it. He loves you and deeply values your heart and life (1 John 4:9).

 

As one who has walked through many valleys in life myself, I testify to you this day, with God you will truly overcome every heartache and difficulty of life. And girlfriend, He will bring you through your hard time too. He is in the business of turning troubled times into places of hope (Hosea 2:15). Claim it. Declare it. And hold fast to the reality of God’s Word.

 

“For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD. ‘Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

 

Ask the Lord what He may be calling you to do. Is there something that scares you that perhaps God would like to address? Is there an unresolved matter that simply needs reconciliation? Are you concerned about your relationships or your loved ones? Take it to the Lord. He will direct you by His written Word, the Holy Bible and by speaking directly to your heart. You are precious and the situations that you are facing within your life are neither “too little” nor “too big” for God’s mighty care. Take them to Him today and allow His peace, that which surpasses the logic and understanding of this world, to penetrate and overtake the fears within your heart. Why? Because He is God and you are precious to Him.

 

“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.”

1 Peter 5:6-7 (NASB)

 

*This article is featured on Wonderfully Made’s Official Blog Site. Click the title below in teal to visit the article.

Hurdles, Mountains, and the Valley of Achor

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While seated inside the bustling restaurant within the Middle East, Kaw-Thar quickly adjusted her black hijab around her face to hide a stray hair that had come loose before nervously asking her next and most poignant question, “All this is interesting, but who do you say Jesus Christ is?”

 

Knowing the risk of answering such a question, the young Christian silently prayed for wisdom as her Muslim friend slid her cell phone across the table closer to her. Was this a set up? It was illegal to speak of Jesus Christ in a Muslim country. The young woman was aware that she could be deported, jailed, or even worse. Yet, the young foreigner could not deny in her heart of hearts that this was why she had traveled to this foreign land. It was for such a moment as this that the young woman had been willing to leave all of the comforts of her homeland and gone to great lengths to genuinely invest in those of other cultures. This was her moment indeed; this was her moment to speak of her Savior.

 

As the young foreigner felt a peace to share everything the Lord was placing on her heart, she began to speak. “Who do I say Jesus Christ is? Jesus Christ is the Messiah. He is the one and only Son of God. He is the Second person of the Triune Godhead. He is my Lord and my Savior.”

 

Kaw-Thar listened intently as the young foreigner took a sip of her steaming tea. Kaw-Thar squinted her eyes slightly as if trying to read the response of the young foreigner seated across from her. This young Muslima had been astounded to learn previously in this evening’s shared meal, that the young foreigner had not only had dreams and visions—just as she herself had experienced—but had a personal relationship with the God of all things! Kaw-Thar was desperate for answers. Her life was in shambles. Her husband had left her for another woman, her mother was diagnosed with cancer and refusing treatment—saying that if Allah willed for her to die, she would accept it. Yet, Kaw-Thar could not accept it! She and her son, Abdul Aziz, were living with her mother in the midst of this diagnosis and recent divorce. It just couldn’t be the end for her mother—she was Kaw-Thar’s only support system.

 

Kaw-Thar shared with the young foreigner that she had previously checked into other religions such as Buddism in desperation to connect with a higher power on behalf of her mother. With eyebrows raised, Kaw-Thar lowered her voice and leaned forward as she shared, “I have even attended an Easter service while traveling in Europe and spoke with the Pastor after the sermon.” Yet, despite her searching, despite her questions, Kaw-Thar kept getting stuck on the same question within her own heart. “How can there be three persons to one God?”

 

The young foreigner continued to pray silently and the Lord brought to mind an example used by a missionary within the book I Dared to Call Him Father by Bilquis Sheikh. And with another affirmation upon her listening heart to speak in the midst of a dangerous environment, with a sparkle in her eye, the young foreigner began to share. “You are right, my friend. There is only one God. There are three parts to God: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. Think of God like the sun for a minute. There are three parts that make up the sun: heat, light and radiation. Each part is distinctly unique, yet undeniably part of the same whole.”

 

If this interaction tugs at your heart, know that there are multiple ways to get involved with sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with the Arab world as a whole. A quick sit down with a local Christian Pastor or a simple Internet search will bring a whole list of opportunities before you with organizations to partner with in order to GO (Matthew 28:19).

 

The above dialogue is just one account of real life interactions between Christian and Muslim friends in 2016 across the globe. Jesus Christ is showing up in the dreams of those seeking to know the One and True God (Jeremiah 29:13). Islam teaches that only their prophet Muhammad or the devil can appear in the dreams of Muslims. Yet, all the while, Jesus is showing up—defying their teachings and bringing multitudes into the Kingdom through belief on Jesus Christ (Romans 10:13). Amen! Even the refugee crisis is being used for the glory of God as multiple Christian ministries are meeting these displaced peoples on the shores of foreign lands and ministering to their basic humanitarian needs. The number of precious lives converting from Islam as they embrace a God of love—the God of the Holy Bible—Jesus Christ (1 John 4:8-10)—is truly amazing!

 

May I encourage you this very day to consider having a similar conversation with someone of another faith. Christian Apologetics—or the defense of the Christian faith—is a powerful tool in providing a loving witness to those who are earnestly seeking to know God. The author of Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus, Nabeel Qureshi, has a powerful series of Christian apologetics in light of Islam on YouTube, which is filmed at Biola University in southern California. It is very insightful and taught me much about the core beliefs of Islam. As Christians, it is our deepest honor and most sincere joy to speak of the transformative work of Jesus Christ within our own lives.

 

May we, as women of our own generation, be ready and willing to speak at length with those of other faiths who are seeking to know more about Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior (1 Peter 3:15)—because, you never know—it may be due to your willingness to GO in Jesus’ name that others will experience eternity and right standing before the One and only Holy God of all things (Isaiah 6:1-8). Are you ready to GO?

*This article is featured on Wonderfully Made’s Official Blog Site. Click the title below in teal to visit the article.

Ready to Go