Monday, November 28, 2011

Life's Ups & Downs

The irony was unmistakable. We had spent an enjoyable Thanksgiving day with my sister-in-law and her family. As we caught up on family news, she asked how our sixteen year old cat, Courtney, was getting along. I remember smiling when I answered that she was doing well. Imagine my shock when we got home later that evening, and Courtney's eye was almost swollen shut. She was fine when we left - what could have possibly happened in the few hours we had been away?

A trip to our local vet escalated our concern. Not only did she have elevated blood pressure, but the pressure in her right eye was almost three times higher than normal. The doctor suspected glaucoma. I had heard of the condition, but wasn't aware that it could affect animals.

Glaucoma is an eye disorder marked by unusually high pressure in the eyeball that leads to damage of the optic disk (Encarta Dictionary). In humans, the condition is extremely painful. The vet referred us to an ophthalmologist, who could examine Courtney further and give us our options. Armed with medication to control her blood pressure, we left the vet's office ready to contact the specialist on Monday.

We received good news over the weekend. Courtney's blood work came back within the normal range for a senior cat. I heaved a sigh of relief, imagining the swollen eye was due to her high blood pressure, and now that she was on medication, everything would return to normal. But my sense of relief was short lived.

The ophthalmologist visit eased some concerns, but raised new questions. The pressure in Courtney's eye had come down significantly, but the doctor's specialized equipment uncovered another problem - a mass on her iris. We had a big decision to make. Ultimately, removing the eye would give her the best prognosis.

Life is full of ups and downs. King Solomon understood this truth when he penned these words, "To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance," (Ecclesiastes 3:1-4; KJV).

Knowing that God is in control even in the midst of life's valleys, is comforting. Christ himself experienced times of joy and grief while on this earth, so I know He can identify with the ups and downs I go through.

Job, a God-fearing man in the Old Testament, experienced one of life's extreme valleys. He lost his children and all of his wealth in one day. Instead of cursing God, consider his response, "...What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?" (Job 2:10b).

Even when life gets difficult, I'm determined to adopt the attitude of Job - to praise the Lord no matter the outcome! "...the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord," (Job 1:21b).

What about you? Are you currently in a valley? How will you respond?

Prayer: Heavenly Father, Thank You for Your comfort in the middle of life's difficulties. Help me embrace the truth that You are good, no matter what I may be going through. Today I choose to praise You because You are "great, and doest wondrous things: thou art God alone," (Psalm 86:10). In Jesus' name, Amen.


  1. I love that verse in Job. So often I want the blessings - okay, I'll always take the blessings first - but there is a gentle sweetness found in walking through the valley with Him. Sometimes a lot of pain too, but He is always there. Hope Courtney does well - our pets are parts of our family, aren't they?:)

  2. I'm so sorry about your cat:( I love animals and hate to see them suffer.
    I'm currently climbing out of a valley but from my experience I can say that the Lord was always with me and was my rock when the world let me down.

  3. MMM, yes ... a valley has been my place of walking for the past few months. But it is so nice to look up and see the promise of the Son shining over the mountain peaks I'll be on again soon!

  4. Susan - Your comment brought Laura Story's song, Blessings, to mind! Sometimes it IS those valleys that prove to be the true blessings. Wonderful to know that He walks with us each step of the way! And you're right about our pets being part of the family! We're hoping the surgery will be all Courtney needs, and we also know that God knows best. Have a fantastic week walking with the Savior!

  5. Terri - Thanks for your sweet words! I'm very grateful that Courtney is still purring and acting normal - even playing with her toys. It's wonderful to hear that you're heading out of the valley - and your faith has been an inspiration to me as you've consistently demonstrated your trust in our Heavenly Father! It's clear that you DO see Him as your Rock! I appreciate you! :)

  6. Jaime - I'm so grateful that our God is a God of hope! Even in the valleys we CAN choose to look up and see the "promise of the Son shining." It's also encouraging to know that the Lord can use whatever trial I'm experiencing in my own life and that of others - to draw us closer to Him! Praying for you, Jaime! God bless!

  7. I've learned over a long period of time when valleys come to stop and ask God to teach me something and to remember to praise Him. But I won't lie, it isn't easy and sometimes it takes me longer than others to learn and to turn my whine into praise! lol

  8. I'm not sure if I always respond well to valleys, but I know there are times I just need to retreat with my Savior. And I like to remind myself of how He's been here for me in the past and how He's promised to always love me and never forsake me.

  9. I often think of Job when things are just not how I want them to be. I'm learning to just experience God, rather than wonder 'why.' It is taking time, but He is blessing me by giving me time, too.

  10. Whether or not I'm in a valley depends on what day you ask! It seems like sometimes things change from day to day or even hour to hour, but God has always been faithful to buoy me up through it.

    Hope your kitty is better!