We all want the mountain top experience, right? We experience a mountain top – a thrill, a miracle or a revelation and then desire to stay there.
I certainly do!
I long for the days of feeling the highs of reaching the summits of life. I crave the “I can’t believe this is my life” moments. And the moments of “how is this possible?” Or even the miracle moments.
But staying on the mountain top leaves no room for growing and readying for the next mountain top.
I can live for the mountain moment and miss the life that can be found in the valley.
The reality is the majority of life is not spent on the mountain tops. The majority of life is spent in the valleys. The valley is the place of preparation. The valley is the place of learning. The valley is the place of surrender.
The dreamer in my mind pictures me hopping from mountain top to mountain top. Tip toeing and soaring from summit to summit without ever touching the valleys in between and without ever having to make the climb.
Of course the dreamer in me also wants me to be filled with the wisdom and gifts that are only available in the valley and the lessons from the climb.
If I could, it would be my choice to avoid the trials of this life. Of course! On my own I would not choose to walk through pain, loss, sickness, trauma, or addictions. Of course, if I had a choice I would live on the mountain tops and not have to face the harsh realities that come from walking through the valley.
The valley places are full of trials, heartbreak and heartache. The valley is the place where rivers must be forged and gorges hurdled. The valley is the place of scraped knees and of struggle.
Yet the valley is a place where God is.
God is on the mountain tops. But he is also the God of the valley.
God is the Lord of all. Mountain tops and valleys below. There is never a season where he isn’t found. He is omnipotent.
Because He is a good God, the valleys though dark as they may be, He fills the valley with his presence for us to find.
If the valley is a place where God is, then it is a valuable, useful and worthwhile place to be.
The valley presents trials, tests and difficulties. The valley can be desolate and disparaging.
But again, the valley is a place where God is. The valley is a place where His presence is found.
“How do you know this, Stephanie?” you may be wondering.
I know this because I have been in the valley. I am in the valley. And I have come to know, see and experience God in new and different ways than I ever have on the mountain tops of my life.
Yes the valleys are hard. Yes the valleys can feel like they are never ending. Sometimes the shadows on the valley cover us and we walk through seasons of darkness.
But here is what the Bible tells us about the valley in Psalm 104:10&13, and therefore we can have peace.
“He sends forth springs in the valleys; They flow between the mountains. He waters the mountains from His upper chambers; The earth is satisfied with the fruit of His works.”
God is in the valley. He sends down water from heaven to make springs to refresh us along the way. The water quenches our thirst and causes fruit to grow.
We can be satisfied in the valley places of life. God sends for water to fill, nurture and satisfy us.
The waters flow from the mountains as if he brings to the valley the blessings of the mountain tops, we just have to take a drink.
We just have to believe and dip our toe in.
I ran across this Puritan Prayer and it paints a beautiful picture of the purpose of the valley. The valleys though they are often harder than we’d like, producing in us a greater character, love, appreciation, gratitude, grace, mercy and compassion.
The prayer is called, The Valley of Vision:
Lord, High and Holy, Meek and Lowly,
Thou hast brought me to the valley of vision,
Where I live in the depths but see thee in the heights;
Hemmed in by mountains of sin I behold thy glory.
Let me learn by paradox
That the way down is the way up,
That to be low is to be high,
That the broken heart is the healed heart,
That the contrite spirit is the rejoicing spirit,
That the repenting soul is the victorious soul,
That to have nothing is to possess all,
That to bear the cross is to wear the crown,
That to give is to receive,
That the valley is the place of vision.
Lord, in the daytime stars can be seen from deepest wells,
And the deeper the wells the brighter thy stars shine;
Let me find thy light in my darkness,
Thy life in my death,
Thy joy in my sorrow,
Thy grace in my sin,
Thy riches in my poverty,
Thy glory in my valley.
It is true, I live for the mountain, but have found life and life abundant in the valley. The prayer of the Puritans reminds me that God’s kingdom is an upside down kingdom. If I want to be lifted up I need to bow low. The last shall be first, etc.
With my eyes on the mountain tops I miss the life that is blooming in the valley. I miss the experience of the valley, I miss the growth. May the springs found in the valley be the reminder of where the waters flow from and always cause me to surrender to the one who sends forth the springs from his chambers.
I wanted to share this song with you also and pray that it waters your soul like a fresh spring flowing from the mountain. “I Have this Hope” by Tenth Avenue North.
If you are facing storms of this life, if you are in the valley but you are looking for the streams of hope, take a moment and go to my webpage, www.stephaniewinslow.com where you can find many books, devotionals, and other great resources to help you face the storm in front of you with armed with scripture, hope, peace and faith.