For my friend, Alyson, the Oak of Righteousness, the Planting of the LORD.
…They stayed int he camp, obedient to God's command, as long as the Cloud was over The Dwelling, but the moment that God issued orders they marched…Night or day it made no difference— when the Cloud lifted, they marched…They camped at God's command and they marched at God's command. They lived obediently by God's orders…
Heavenly Father, it was months ago that I bookmarked these verses, and I know that because of these past few weeks I see something new in them today. "The moment God issued orders they marched…Night or day it made no difference." Lord, there have been many dark days in these past few weeks. What stands out to me today is the hope that sustains and carries us through our darkest days. Night or day, You are issuing the orders. You are in it all. You can and will redeem it all, truly bringing beauty out of ashes.
I think that before when I heard or read that verse, I immediately focused on the redeemed garland of beauty without pausing and weighing the very real guarantee of bitter ashes in this life. Thank you for Your many promises that we are not alone, for Your many encouragements to not be afraid. I thank You for the gift that it was to hear my friend say, today, that she sees Your hand caring for, providing for, and making a way for her family in this time of trials. Father, for those who mourn today, for my precious friend today, I join with Isaiah in praying, "Give them a garland instead of ashes, The oil of gladness instead of mourning, The mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting. So that they will be called oaks of righteousness, The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified" (Isaiah 61:3).
Father, for those who travel through dark valleys tonight, I pray that they would see You leading the way, because, "Even darkness is not dark to You, And the night is as bright as the day. Darkness and light are alike to You." You know the way forward. We rejoice in this hope! Lord, give comfort in the truths that "You know when I sit down and when I rise up; You understand my thoughts from afar. You scrutinize my path and my lying down and are intimately acquainted with all my ways…You have enclosed me behind and before, And laid your hand upon me" (Psalm 139).
Lord, You alone know the journey that is laid out before each of us, and You alone know where along that path we find ourselves today. You alone know the length and the depth and the breadth of this trial and each of the trials to come. You alone are our strength, our life, our ever present help for each and every day. Thank You for leading the way. Thank You for traveling with us. Truly, You are our traveling mercies. You are!
Thank you for your words of truth to cling to in the mist of my Dark Valley,