This is a story about a song and its impact. It is a good story but a long one, so I’ll start at the beginning and try to be brief.
Anyone who has been a part of either NVBC for the past twenty years, or GSBC during its first decade, will remember Brother Flint’s extraordinary talent on the guitar. From the time we first met, he and I sang duets which he accompanied on guitar. One of the songs in our repertoire was Dottie Rambo’s In the Valley He Restoreth My Soul. When our oldest daughter was a toddler, she learned to sing along with us, but she was creative with the wording. When singing Victory in Jesus, the line “He plunged me to victory” came out “He punched me to victory.” In Rambo’s Valley, the refrain …
The Lord knows I can’t live on the mountain,
So He picked out a valley for me.
… was transformed by our toddler into “the Lord picked out nobody as me.”
This song has had a lot of meaning for us. We thought we knew all about “valleys.” The trials that we had endured as broke twenty-somethings in Bible college grew and evolved into tribulations as thirty-somethings with two children, one of whom was critically ill. In reality, we hadn’t touched the valley’s depth until we reached fifty-something and my husband lost his health, his strength, and his ability to play the guitar. At the age when most Americans are thinking of retiring, taking it easy, traveling, and pursuing hobbies, we were entering the darkest and most difficult time in our lives.
I remember a particularly trying two-week period in which our immediate family experienced an excruciating death, a devastating divorce, and a critical diagnosis. In addition, there was a financial issue and difficulty at work. I felt like I was hanging off a cliff by my fingernails; then, my dog got very ill. I could not “glory in tribulations” (Romans 5:3), but I could “come boldly unto the throne of grace” to pray, “obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16). And I found it.
(NOTE: If you are not a dog person, skip to the next paragraph right now. I MEAN it!) Is it just us dog lovers? Okay, I’ll continue. I prayed as I comforted my dog, “Please, God, not this week. Please don’t let her die this week.” It was her time; she was 12 years old, but I just could not take any more sorrow. God answered my prayer; she lived for two more weeks.
Although I’ve thrown a pity party or two, or three hundred, for a child of God a trial is not a grief but a gift that has been carefully selected by a loving Heavenly Father. The purpose of a trial is included in Ms. Rambo’s song,
He tells me there’s strength in my sorrow,
And there’s victory in trials for me.
Every valley has not only brought me strength and victory but also given me and my children and grandchildren an opportunity to glorify God. Another impact of the song is found in the chorus which is taken from Psalm 23:
He draws me aside to be tested and tried,
But in the valley, He restoreth my soul
In the valley, there are problems, but there is also peace, answered prayer, and the protection of God. Most importantly, we have the opportunity to show our children and grandchildren how God “provides a table in the wilderness.” If I had been given a choice forty-some years ago, I would not have selected this path for our lives. Today, I wouldn’t trade my situation with anyone else’s. After all, it’s a gift that Lord picked it out for “nobody as me.”
Share this post
Mrs. Flint serves as the Alumni Director of Golden State Baptist College and has been teaching at GSBC for twenty years. She is the wife of Brother Mike Flint, the mother of two GSBC alumni, and a grandmother of four “Bear Cubs.”