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Several months ago, the Lord granted me a profound dream. In this dream, I found myself confined within the confines of a cramped structure with no visible escape route. The windows and door were entirely obstructed by a massive semi-trailer truck up against it, leaving me with an overwhelming sense of entrapment and helplessness. Panic surged within me as I realized the gravity of my situation - I was trapped.

It was at this critical juncture in the dream that an idea struck me. I discerned that my sole means of liberation was to awaken from this nightmare. In a moment of self-awareness, I muttered to myself, "The only way I can break free from this predicament is by waking up." And so, I did; I awoke from the dream.

Throughout my life, I have often considered myself a proficient escape artist, adept at navigating trials and challenges with ingenuity and resilience. However, this dream was a divine message, a profound revelation from the Lord. It served as an admonition that a formidable trial lay ahead, one in which my customary escape artist skills would prove futile. Nevertheless, the Lord was conveying that there would indeed be a way of escape, and that path would be found by awakening and rising above. It was a season to WAKE UP and COME UP.

This impending trial, which I've come to call the "Valley of the Shadow of Death," is an ordeal that many will encounter. It's a season when one might feel forsaken by God, on the brink of dying or suffering harm, exhaustion, helplessness and utterly incapable of breaking free or changing course. It is a time where some quit, give up and surrender to the enemy’s camp. It was during this time that I told the Holy Spirit that I needed Him 25/8, 24/7 just was not going to do it. Despite these sentiments, the route to escape is right there, waiting to be embraced - it entails growing in grace and spiritual maturity. The trial, as rough as it may seem, is the catalyst propelling us toward spiritual growth.

For me personally, I initially considered nurturing my spiritual self by increasing the number of Bible chapters I read each day. However, the Holy Spirit redirected my path, revealing that time is short, and I would soon be eating entire books of the Bible daily on a consistent basis. This specific guidance from the Holy Spirit underscores the importance of seeking personalized instructions from Him.

Recently, I had the privilege of teaching a corporate class, and to my delight, the students expressed their admiration for the patience I displayed while instructing adults. When management relayed this feedback to me, I couldn't help but smile. This patience, which garnered such commendation, was a trait I had honed during my sojourn through the "Valley of the Shadow of Death."

In this trial, we acquire wisdom, develop virtues, deepen our understanding of Jesus, walk in power, further develop spiritual seeing and hearing and gain profound insights. The way up becomes the way out.

Just as a skilled potter molds clay, God shapes us through our trials and tribulations. It's a process that demands patience, but in the end, it results in a perfected work of art.

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