This week, the Lord has been talking to me about valleys and mountaintops. We are all very familiar with the analogies of the mountaintop as being a good, victorious, overcoming place to be and of the valley as being the place of trials, tribulations, and often times despair. God has challenged me this week to think of things differently. Our valleys can also be times of refreshing, new opportunities, and discoveries.
During the hard times in our lives, which many equate with the valleys, we need to remember to find the good that comes alongside of the difficult things we go through in life. If we learn to appreciate the spot where we are at any given moment, through our trials, we can thrive in every situation in life. Think of the beauty of the valley. As we walk along, it is in the valley that we find streams of refreshing, lush pastures in which to rest, beautiful meadows of wildflowers, rich forests, abundant wildlife…all things worth enjoying. Have you ever just enjoyed lying down in a beautiful meadow of wildflowers, perhaps with a rushing stream nearby on a cool afternoon? Didn’t it just make all of your troubles seem to vanish (Psalm 23:2-3)? You see, every season we are in has a beauty of its own. Sometimes that may be hard to see when we feel like money is tight, the children are especially challenging, our health is faltering, our relatives or friends have disappointed us or even deserted us, our job is in jeopardy, and so on. It is good to remember in such times that God is in our valley with us, and we can rest in Him. We can enjoy life in the middle of a trial.
God wants us to have so much trust in Him and His Word that when difficult circumstances come knocking at our door, we will choose to see the beauty in the valley. We will run into His arms and realize He is sustaining us. He has given us so much to be thankful for, even during the hard times. It’s easy to focus on the challenge, but in reality, it is actually easier in the long run to focus on the blessings around us which God gives us to see us through those rough spots. He is ever with us; He will never forsake us (Psalm 9:10); He wants us to rest in Him and take joy in our journey (Mark 11:28-29). In Christ, we have the victory (1 Cor. 15:57), and it does not matter what it may look like or feel like at the moment. Seeing the good around us will only make it easier to face the difficulties. The joy of the Lord is our strength (Neh. 8:10). Seeing the good around us will help us to learn what it is we may need to change in our own lives. Seeing the wonderful things the valley has to offer will help us to encourage others when they need to be lifted up. The mountaintop is not the only place where good things happen. The valleys have so much wonder to offer; we just need to change our thinking and see with spiritual eyes.
If you are going through a hard time, find something today to be thankful for (1 Thes. 5:16-18), and then give thanks to God for giving it to you. Remember, a cheerful heart has a continual feast (Prov. 15:15). Better yet, find someone around you who may need help, and help them. Do you know, helping another is one of the best ways to move past your own problems? Help them to see something positive in their journey through their valley, and you will both be blessed.
So, our challenge is that instead of looking at the valley as a place to get out of, let’s look at it as a place to rest and learn and enjoy for the beauty that it alone holds.
Enjoy the journey,