As you're sharing your Life Spiritual Milestones -- with your usual honesty and maturity, I might add --it may have occurred to you that some of those milestones have happened at not-so-happy times. Turns out we don't only grow from burning bushes and miracle healings. Sometimes, in fact, we learn the most about God when we are downright depressed.
Psalm 84 is a great example of that in verse 6.
"As they go through the Valley of Baca . . ."
Not exactly a location on the lips of ordinary folk today, but those folks knew it well as an arid, desert-like place on the way to Jerusalem. People had to pass through it in order to get to the Holy City, which was a huge deal to them. Talk about your Life Spiritual Milestones.
I think we all pass through that valley at one time or another in our journey with God. The teenage funk is practically in your contract as an adolescent for one thing. And some of us, myself included, have a biological component that makes us particularly susceptible to the blues. Even if you're the always-cheerful type, you still face circumstances that can make you wonder, "Are you there, God?"
So what makes that a spiritual milestone? The Psalm explains:
'Happy are those whose strength is in You . .
As they go through the valley of Baca
they make it a place of springs.'
Here's how it works. You're in the Valley of Baca for whatever reason. Maybe it's a desert of grief and loneliness or of total dryness in your relationship with God or even an unexplained case of depression. Even in the midst of the heat and the severe clearness of the sky and the eye-stinging blowing of the sand, you know God's spring is there somewhere. It always is. You get quiet, and the water overflows into all the pockets of your soul.
Whenever you rest in God instead of in your own efforts to "cheer up" or "get over it" or "change your attitude" , and you find refreshment like drinking a cold glass of lemonade or falling into a crystal clear pool -- that is a Life Spiritual Milestone.
So as you continue this Real Life discussion of those epiphanies, don't leave out your trips through the Valley of Baca. I miss you.