Monday, April 6, 2015

The Value of the Valley

I am stubborn and rebellious and it takes me a long time to learn anything, BUT over the past 10 or so years,  I've learned that my greatest spiritual growth has occurred while I was in the valley. "Valleys" are those times when God allowed me to face seemingly impossible obstacles in order to stretch my faith. Sometimes my obstacle was something from my past that reared its ugly head to wreak havoc on my present. Several times, the obstacle was illness. There were times when broken relationships caused more pain than I thought I could bear. No matter the specific circumstance,  most often, the greatest obstacle for me to overcome is fear of the unknown.
Not knowing the outcome of a situation causes me a great deal of anxiety. I have found myself wondering "what if I do this 'God's way' and it all blows up in my face?" or "If I handle this the way God expects, will I still get the result I want?" I suppose I'm really asking, "Is God trustworthy?"

I've learned that a trip through the valley has tremendous value, especially when it comes to learning to trust God. 

In the valley we face our fears. In the valley, we hang on when nothing makes sense, trusting only that God is in control, that He has a plan, and that His plan is best. We close our eyes and cling to the Father while our world seems to come crashing down, trusting that HE is in control. We allow ourselves to be pushed past comfortable to the point of pain because we trust that God knows things we do not, can see the outcome we cannot, and that the pain we are going through will be worth it.

In the valley we confront our demons. We make peace with our past and learn to trust God with our future. Our faith is stretched and strengthened and our hearts healed in the valley. A walk through the darkest valley will challenge our belief, expose our doubts, and reveal those things in which we have misplaced our trust. I found the answer to the most important question I've ever asked there.

"Can I trust God?"
I've learned that the answer to this question is a resounding yes! In the valley God proved that He is indeed trustworthy, that HIS way is truly and absolutely the best way, and that He has a plan and a purpose...and ultimately it is to bring HIM glory.

Thinking back over Easter weekend, I am reminded of Silent Saturday. What a valley those who loved Jesus were in. I try and remember this when I am in a valley. God has a plan. Just because I can's see Him at work doesn't mean He has abandoned me. I;ve learned that a trip through the valley is good for my soul. It makes me cling to Jesus, reveals His working in my heart, and prepares me for what ever He has planned for the rest of my days.

I am not insinuating that a trip through the valley will make all troubles disappear. When we emerge from the valley, things will not likely be "good as new". Spiritual healing doesn't erase the past. We will bear the scars of living life.... but we will be spiritually stronger, we will be freed from bondage, we will be healed.

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