He Gave Us a Valley

You may have heard of Dr. Helen Roseveare before. It could possibly have been when this story about a dying baby, a hot water bottle, a child’s prayer, and a doll landed in your inbox. Perhaps you doubted its veracity and considered it an urban legend as you hit delete. The story is, indeed, true and is one of many amazing answers to prayer during Dr. Roseveare’s twenty years as a missionary in the Congo of Africa.

That particular story is recorded in another of her eleven books.  The book I just finished reading and want to recommend to you today is He Gave Us a Valley. The cover of the older copy I have describes it as “a story of frustrations, failures, and triumphs.” Emphasis on the word frustrations.

At a time in my life where I find myself questioning the value of just about everything I do “for the Lord” – whether it’s worthwhile, meaningful, useful, in His will, etc., etc., etc. – this book seems especially timely. As a doctor, Helen Roseveare spent the vast majority of those 20 years, it seems, entangled in the bureaucratic red tape of a region embroiled in civil war and finding its way after centuries of colonialism. Not to mention the 5 months she spent as a prisoner of rebel forces, enduring horrific abuse. And, oh yeah, the people for whom she poured out her life’s work seemed to not only be completely unappreciative of her efforts on their behalf but they actually forced her resignation from the medical hospital she literally built from the ground up.

Her life, her attitude, her love in spite of all of this – it is utterly overwhelming to me. What an ingrate I am! My prayer has become the same as Helen’s – and the Apostle Paul’s: ” But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death.” (Philippians 3:7-10)

For more books you really “gotta” read, go here.

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