The prophet Zechariah spoke, “Therefore say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts: “Return to Me,” says the Lord of hosts, “and I will return to you” (Zach. 1:3).
I don’t know if you have ever been in the bottomlands, the marshland between the mountains. It can be difficult to get around, and then when you believe you have found a way out, you sink in the mire once again.
You get wet, dirty, and caught up in the smell. There are dead things down in the deep; and sometimes, critters hiding: but you must go on.
You can see the sunlight dancing on top of the surrounding mountains: if only you were up there. Put that aside; up there, on top of the mountain has its own troubles. You are in the bottomlands, in the shady place sinking, struggling, and that is trouble enough.
What to do?
We are in an age of pressuring: tribulation. No, not the “great tribulation,” but tribulation nonetheless. Look closely at what Zechariah said in the name of the Lord: “Return to Me,” … “and I will return to you.”
שׁוּבוּ אֵלַי, translated another way, “Turn to me.” The Lord is saying, “Turn away from the way that brought you into this bottomland, to Me.” This is, by definition, repentance: turning away from, to.
Bottomland experiences, whether hiking, in life, or in the spiritual life, are unavoidable. There is life down in that place, and it’s the life that builds endurance to climb.
When we find ourselves down in the bottomlands, it is easy to become entirely too focused on that circumstance. But remember: turn…
Turing to the Lord doesn’t get you out of the bottomlands, turning to God will bring Him down into the bottomlands with you.
Messiah said, “I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:20), and that includes the bottomlands as well. You are never alone, or forsaken, even in the most dire circumstance.
Be well. Shabbat shalom.