Thursday, July 9, 2015

The Blessing of the Valley

This was submitted to an online devotional site last month. They didn't choose it and, though I am disappointed,  I am thankful that they didn't. See, this is what happens when I try to write what I think others want to read instead of allowing the words to just flow from my heart. The message is true, honest, and heartfelt...the delivery is...lacking.  Still, after being in the mountains with our Youth Group last week, I am behind in my writing, so, I'll just share this. Guess God knew I'd need it.
The Blessing of the Valley

“Oh God, I don’t want this. I’m angry. I’m scared. I’m confused and frustrated. I don’t understand why I am on this road. I want you to fix this mess. Get me out of this nightmare.”

This was my prayer. After 2 years of being “cancer free”, my cancer returned. I tried to put on a brave face for family and friends, but I was shattered.  I was in a deep dark valley, and there was no way out.

Maybe you’ve been in the valley. Maybe you’re there now. You might have cancer…or not. You might have lost a job, a child, a spouse. Maybe your marriage is falling apart or you have a child who seems determined to self-destruct.  Perhaps there are more bills than money again this month. Maybe the love of your life decided that they love someone else…or that they just don’t love you. Perhaps life simply hasn’t turned out like you thought it would. Maybe you looked in the mirror this morning and fell to pieces because you never imagined you’d end up where you are today. You feel pressed, crushed, shattered. Your chest hurts. It’s hard to think. It’s hard to breathe. The one question that screams from your soul is “Why?”

I don’t know the answer to your specific “why”, but I do know that when we are helpless God does his best work. We can go to Him weak and weary and broken and bruised and completely falling apart. We can express the fear, uncertainty, and even anger in our hearts.  Go to Him. Be transparent, honest, and open. Dig deep and get it all out…He can take it.

As I poured my heart out to Him and was completely honest about the fear and anger in my heart over my diagnosis, calm washed over me. In the middle of my brokenness, the following promises from His Word came to mind:

God will never leave me or forsake me.  (Deuteronomy 31:6)

God will fight for me. (Exodus 14:14)

God watches over me and never sleeps. (Psalm 121:3)

Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death... (Psalm 23:4)


Though my circumstances were exactly the same, the cry of my heart changed from “WHY?!?!” to something more along the lines of…

“I don’t want this. I hate it and I want you to fix it. I know you make all this go away if you choose. BUT if you choose not to, and this is the road I have to travel, please go with me. Don’t make me go alone.”


God did not choose to miraculously heal me. I earnestly sought His will and His presence as I underwent surgeries and radiation. He did not deliver me from the valley, but carried me through. He never left my side. The promise of His presence is true for you too. He may not change your circumstances, but he WILL give you:

peace in the middle of your storm.

comfort as you grieve.

hope in your loss.


He may not restore your marriage or heal your body. He may not answer your prayers the way you think He should. He may not give you what you want, but He will give you what you need to take the next breath and, if you trust Him, He will heal you in ways you’ve not dreamed possible. He will make you whole. 


Looking back over my time in the valley, I am amazed at the work God did in me. In the valley, I found comfort in the arms of my Savior and felt the peace that comes from trusting Him in the darkest of nights. In the valley, I learned that sometimes God’s plan is painful. Sometimes He doesn’t answer my prayers the way I want. Sometimes I can’t see what He is doing while I am suffering. I also learned that His plan is perfect, even when I don’t understand it. Today, I count my time in the valley as one of my greatest blessings.


God revealed Himself to me in the valley.


It is my prayer that you will find Him there too.

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