I hope your Thanksgiving weekend went well. As we enter into the Advent season, may we be continually reminded of God’s great grace. All glory, honor, majesty, and praise to The Lord Almighty!
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
John 1:14 – NIV
God’s grace prevails. It goes with us to the mountaintop. It remains with us in the deep, dark valleys. No matter where we are or what hazards await, His bountiful grace goes with us. His love for us never fails. Grace upon grace.
I have seen the mountain high and the valley low of late. Let me tell you about the mountaintop.
On September 8th, Eric and I pulled out of our driveway, camper in tow, headed for the Great Southwest. We had been planning the trip for over a year, and despite Covid, we decided to follow through with our plans. The beauty of RV life is that it lends itself to social distancing, so we grabbed our masks and hand sanitizer and hit the road. Here’s the stats: 8076 miles, 63 days, 14 states, 8 national parks, 9 state parks, 28 campsites, and 224 hours in the truck seat! Best of all, we spent four weeks traveling around with our son and his precious girlfriend! Our route took us across Tennessee, Arkansas and Oklahoma, with lengthy stays in Colorado, Utah and Arizona, followed by the return trip across New Mexico, Texas, and through the Southeast to home. The only state in the lower half of the country that we missed was Florida. From the mountain peaks to the desert views, from the red rock arches to the canyon rims, from the wide, flat plains to the winding rivers, the whole trip was absolutely incredible!
But here’s the truly amazing thing: I could see it! I could see the red rocks of Moab, the sunrise over the Grand Canyon, the Saguaro cacti rising up from the desert floor. By God’s amazing grace, exactly 27 years after my degenerative eye disease diagnosis, I still have useable vision. The disease has progressed in a peculiar pattern, stealing most of my mid-peripheral and central vision, yet miraculously sparing my far peripheral vision. The net result is that I can appreciate the mountain vistas and the desert views. It’s not normal clear vision, but it is vision nonetheless. If you had told me 27 years ago that I would hike to the top of Angel’s Landing in Zion National Park on my 60th birthday, I would never have believed it. Not only did I hike it, but once there, I could look out over the canyon rim and see the red rock peaks glowing in the sunshine, the cornflower blue sky so close I could almost touch it! Grace upon grace.
Over those 8076 miles, there were only three mishaps, and each time, God intervened to keep us safe. We encountered an unexpected snowstorm in New Mexico, but were able to hold in place for a day. This detour forced a change of plans, but we were spared from the hazards of icy roads. There was a flat tire in Texas, but since it happened in front of my cousin’s house, we had the tools and helpers to get it repaired without delay. On November 9th, we cheered as we backed into our driveway, only to find we had a dead battery when we tried to move the truck during the unloading process. Only an hour before, we had stopped at a rest area. Had the battery failed then, it would have been a mess. Instead, we made it home safe and sound. Grace upon grace.
We had been home exactly one week when we got the panic call from Eric’s mom that she could not rouse his father. Had it been one week earlier, we would have not been here to support her, not been there to say goodbye to Pete. Grace upon grace.
It’s been a hard year for all of us. Though mountaintop highs may have found you, the valley lows have been much more prevalent. Still, God’s grace prevails. For though we crave the joys of the mountain peaks, our eyes are more open to seeing God’s presence in the dark valleys. But whether our eyes are poised to see Him at work or not, His Grace still prevails. It’s there for you. It’s there for me. His love for us never fails. Grace upon grace.
For Grace came to us as a tiny infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger. Grace was offered through the nails of a Roman cross. Grace showed up in an empty tomb. Grace for you. Grace for me. Grace upon grace.
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
2 Corinthians 13:14 – NIV
O God of Grace and Goodness, we praise Your Holy Name. For You meet us wherever we are, be it the mountain high or the valley low. You shelter us with Your protection. You strengthen us with Your hope. You bless us with joy. You encircle us with peace. Always and forever, You cover us with grace. Grace upon grace.
In the Glorious Name of Jesus, we give thanks and praise,