“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death.”
We all know that a mountain is the highest landform on the earth’s surface, and valleys are the low-lying regions between two mountains.
Valleys are formed on either side of the mountain and are topographically contrasting. As the winds flow towards the mountain, they bring with them a lot of moisture and often a harsh climate. As they pass over the mountaintop, they release all that moisture in the form of rain, which leaves the valley lush and green. A haven of sorts. A beautiful place to be. A place of abundance due to fertile soil fed by the rivers flowing down the mountainside. This is the windward side of the mountain.
The other side is the leeward side of the mountain. A side ‘protected’ from the harsh winds and rain; the result is a dry, arid ground that does not bear much fruit. This is the rain shadow area.
However, one meteorological feature that is very common on the ‘lee side’ of the mountain is – turbulence! As the wind crosses over the mountain ridge, it creates updrafts that could be 2 to 20 times the height of the mountain peaks! If you thought this was the safe side of the mountain, think again.
This reminds me of the valley of the shadow of death – why do we instinctively know this is not the lush, green side of the mountain but rather the lee side? The windward side is full of life with its lush, green foliage and abundant fruit. That would be life as we knew it before losing our partner. Then came death. It hurled us across the mountaintop and sent us tumbling down the leeward side. The valley of the shadow of death – an arid place of sadness. A place where joy does not rain upon us.
We are promised that God is with us; His rod and staff will comfort us. But we can only stay here for a season. We were not designed to live in a state of prolonged sadness in an arid, parched environment. No – we were designed to be vibrant reminders of God’s faithfulness. Yes, He will continue to be faithful as we claw our way up the leeward side of the mountain. We will miss our footing and slip several feet below, but we will recompose ourselves and start the fight back to the top once again.
It will be a long, arduous trek, but ‘His rod and staff’ will comfort, nudge, guide, and give us something to lean on when we are weary. Grief is exhausting! It is an uphill endeavor! But wait – what’s on the other side of the mountain? You got it! That is what we were meant to do – live an abundant life full of purpose.
“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful; it is to be honorable; it is to be compassionate; to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
In that, may we find our happiness. I will see you on the windward side!
Psalm 23:4, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
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