There is a beautiful, almost indignant sentiment expressed by God in 1 Kings 20:28 that tells us, “Thus says the Lord: ‘Because the Syrians have said, “The Lord is God of the hills, but He is not God of the valleys,” therefore I will deliver all this great multitude into your hand, and you shall know that I am the Lord.’”
From the point of view of a spiritual application, what a most comforting statement. The Lord Himself proclaims His full assurance that He indeed reigns over our highs and our lows, the good times and the bad times—yes, He is Lord of the hilltops and He is Lord of the valleys.
This verse is particularly hopeful today as we find ourselves living in a world where it seems that no country, culture, language or society is able to escape the constant barrage of distressing news that confronts us, from the moment we open our eyes each morning until we close them at night.
Once thing is for certain—life is not always lived on top of the hill where we feel safe and secure from all that looms on the horizon. Too often we find ourselves in circumstances that take us into the dark shadows of the valley below from which we cannot see the light. God does not promise to always lift us up and onto the hilltop, but He has proclaimed that we are never without His presence, even when we are in the valley. He is there with us when the feeling of oppressiveness clouds our vision and when we feel as though we are a tattered, jumbled mess of frayed dark threads stretched taut across the weaver’s loom.
How do we rise above our worries and anxieties and stay focused on this scripture in 1 Kings 20:28 during our “valley moments?” While not a complete list, here are some key points that I have found to be helpful in my own struggles to repel anxiety.
We can rest assured knowing that when we are living in a manner that is led by His Spirit, nothing in life or death can ever separate us from Him.
When anxiety encompasses your very core, remember that this overarching mental perspective is everything. A scripture that has helped me with this is Hebrews 13:6 which says, “We can confidently say, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?’” By mentally rephrasing this scripture, I can ask myself, “What is the worst possible outcome that could happen regarding the things I am anxious about, knowing that God is the guardian of all, including every breath I take?”
I am then able to logically (not emotionally) identify the root of my anxiety and ask myself if I could cope with that outcome—should it occur. Most often I will come to see that although I might not like some of the possible outcomes, I could indeed cope with them. If you emotionally overanalyze, it will paralyze. Living by feelings only will most certainly lead to an anxious heart. This simple process of logic is amazingly effective at sorting through fear and anxiety and walking you through a faith-building exercise.
Keep the glitter in the drawer and set firm boundaries.
Triggers are like glitter. Once uncontained, glitter sticks to everything. It manages to cling to your clothes, stick to your face, embed into your carpet and spread throughout your entire home. It takes an enormous amount of effort to completely remove glitter.
Anxiety triggers are no different. Take time to identify situations or circumstances that can trigger anxiety, and then set firm boundaries that will help you to avoid opening the portal that begins your slide down the mental avalanche. Replace triggers with tools that soothe and calm your spirit and be cognizant with what you allow into your mental, physical and spiritual residence. Turn off the news and read the psalms. Instead of projecting what might happen tomorrow, find things to be thankful for today. Add uplifting music, meditation, and humor/laughter into your daily routine, and, of course, pray often.
Hold on to His promises and let His Word be your strength.
Remember His promises daily. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of promises given to us in His Word. Write them down, rehearse them, and saturate your mind with them. Begin a study of His promises and make a list titled: “He says He will…”
Yes, this is an exercise with a reward of bringing comfort to our anxious hearts. But upon closer reflection, it is also a faith building exercise. As humans we may inadvertently allow our grasp of His promises to reflect our own personal needs or desires. Yet sometimes His promises are not fully realized in the way we as humans would anticipate or desire, and especially when our perspective shifts to understand that God’s context is always with our ultimate destination in mind.
Remember the proclamation in 1 Kings 20:28.
He is Lord of the mountaintops and Lord of the valleys. He remains steadfast beside us always and His work in our lives speaks of the magnificent masterpiece which sits upon His loom. He is skillfully weaving each us into the tapestry of His plan, masterfully guiding each thread through our lives in preparation of the beautiful tapestry on the upside that He hopes to perfect us into. Marie Von Trapp said it this way: “It will be very interesting one day to follow the pattern of our life as it is spread out like a beautiful tapestry. As long as we live here we see only the reverse side of the weaving, and very often the pattern, with its threads running wildly, doesn't seem to make sense. Someday, however, we shall understand. In looking back over the years, we can discover how a red thread goes through the pattern of our life: the Will of God.”