bits from bob....

Finding God in the Valleys of Life

by Bob Young
[permission is given to reprint with credit noted]

The man of God came up and told the king of Israel, "This is what the Lord says: 'Because the Arameans think the Lord is a god of the hills and not a god of the valleys, I will deliver this vast army into your hands, and you will know that I am the Lord'." (1 Kings 20:28)

The mountaintop experiences of life are exhilarating. They energize and encourage us. It is fun to be on the mountain. When we stand on a mountain we see things in a larger perspective. We see more clearly and farther. The mountaintop is a great vantage point to see what lies ahead. Would it not be great to live on the mountain all the time in order to anticipate what is ahead?

I am grateful that God lets us experience the mountaintop. Noah had a literal mountaintop experience. The patriarchs set up altars on the mountaintops-perhaps because those places were "nearer" to God. Joseph had a mountaintop experience as a youth. He had the favor of his father Jacob; he was given a fine coat; he had a dream about his future; he had a sense of destiny about his life. Joseph's summit soon turned to sorrow as he brothers rejected him and sold him. His mountaintop turned to mourning. Sometimes God gives us a picture of our future so we can remember the picture when we are being tested. Usually the picture of our future does not reveal how God will bring about his purpose in our life. Only at the end was Joseph able to see clearly as he said to his brothers, "You meant it for evil but God worked it for good."

Despite the joy of the mountaintop, our character is formed in the valleys of life. David wrote of God's presence in the darkest valley, the final valley-the valley of death. Have you noticed that fruit is generally planted and harvested in the valley; it does not grow as well on the mountain. God is God everywhere. He is God on the mountain; he is equally God in the valley. In the valley it is more difficult to see ahead because clouds often cover the valley and limit our sight, and the lower vantage point does not help us see very far ahead. Joseph was thrust into a valley that left him wondering if God had forsaken him. Moses knew both mountaintop and valley experiences. David knew the valley. Jesus prayed that He might be able to avoid the valley, and anticipating the valley caused Him to sweat blood. The valleys of life are often where we experience God and his faithfulness. God is the God of the valleys.

When we spent time in the valley, we come out with something we could not have gained any other way. The valley brings fruit into our lives so we can plant seeds in the lives of others. God does not waste valley experiences. If we are faithful in the valley, we enter a new dimension and awareness of God. There is a depth of wisdom and virtue that only comes in the valley.

Are you in a valley right now? Remember that the valley is a place to bear fruit; it is a place to experience God; it is a place to see what cannot be seen on the mountain. If you are in the valley, seek God's presence. If you are on the mountaintop, do not forget to seek God's presence. For God is the God of both the valley and the mountain.

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Last updated August 15, 2011