Valley of Despair

Handwritten page from the book of Psalms chapter 119 verses 169 through chapter 122 verse 9
Psalms 119:169-122:9

Synopsis     Psalms 119:169-122:9     4/19/2022 

The psalmist remembered past situations where he felt despair. So, he said, “I raise my eyes toward the mountains. From where will my help come from?” But he immediately answered his own question by noting that his help came from God, who is the creator and sustainer of all things.  

Valley of Despair 

Living in the shadow of a mountain has a curious effect on my senses. The night comes on more quickly in the valley because of the shadow cast by the mountain top. So, for a little while each sunset, I perceive the sun has gone down as it descends behin the mountaintop. But at that moment, I can still see that the sun’s rays are streaming above me.  

In the valley, there is a sense of being below the real action. Like the things that matter most are only visible on the mountaintop. And so, it creates a natural desire to visit the top of the mountain. Only there can I see what’s really going on.  

My wife and I talk about hurry. I hurry from one thing to another as though the activity before me is the most important thing. Because I so often seem in a hurry, my mind shifts from the focus of creating value for another human being to the focused effort needed to just get things done. The experience of action becomes more important and more immediately satisfying than the work of creating value for others.  

It seems so easy. The events of the day distract me. And so, I often forget what I instinctively know matters most. Thus, inevitably comes the moment when I realize that I am lost. Curiously, in that moment I cannot quite remember how this happened. Why I am caught in a cycle of activity that I neither planned nor intended?

What should I do when I realize that I have allowed myself to become trapped. That is the moment to look to the mountains. Get perspective. Tie the ordinary to the transcendent and eternal. And if I can not thus tie it, then I must let it go.  

“When he saw the crowds, he went up the mountain, and after he had sat down, his disciples came to him. He began to teach them.” Matt 5:1-2 

April 21, 2022

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