Ironically, every time I tried to sit down and write this post, I kept feeling as if my words would be insufficient. But really, isn’t that the purpose of the devil, to make us feel insufficient? Blocking our view of what’s good and beautiful even in our times of waiting and struggle is what evil will always try to do. The irony comes in when you take into account what I felt needed to be said; that is that all we ever hear about are the “mountaintop experiences” and how the valley is “in the shadow of death” and something to strive to get out of – but what I felt God kept putting on my heart to share is that beauty can be found in the valley too!
Blocking our view of what’s good and beautiful even in our times of waiting and struggle is what evil will always try to do.
Personally, I’ve lived through some major “valleys” in life and continue to do so. There’s always going to be ups and downs. Being a Christian certainly doesn’t mean your life will be easy or that you won’t have any struggles! What it does mean is that you must learn to rely on God for all things and that, once you do, you might even begin to see Him there for you and with you in the midst of your struggles. He is there walking alongside you no matter where the path may take you.
It’s true that hindsight is 20/20, but often times having faith means that you can’t always wait until you’re through your valley to look back and see where God was. At times, that’s all we’re capable of, sure, and there’s certainly times in every Christians life when it’s humanly impossible to see the beauty through it. That’s exactly when you have to remember that Jesus said “What is impossible with man is possible with God.” – Luke 18:27 (CSB). In this case, I don’t believe God expects us to see that our struggles are good, but I do believe that He simply expects us to lean on Him through them. By doing so, we are acknowledging that our trust is in Him and that our focus is on Him, even when we don’t yet know the outcome.
It’s true that hindsight is 20/20, but often times having faith means that you can’t always wait until you’re through your valley to look back and see where God was.
When things going on in our lives are generally not going so great, it’s so easy to wallow in it and close off to any good that God might be working through it. We hear about “mountaintop experiences” and strive for them… and there’s nothing wrong with looking forward to the day when it feels like you’re on the top of the world with God by your side, but it’s also possible to see the beauty in the valleys we go through as well.
Mountaintops are rocky, jagged and often even perilously windy with less oxygen – but the view is spectacular! That’s what makes the rest worth the risk. It’s so tempting to just continue seeking out the next mountaintop experience to have community with God from the very top.
It’s in our struggles and low points of life that He wants us to “draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.” – James 4:8 (CSB)
Yet, at the foot of some of the highest mountains, lie the valleys we must travel through to get there. Valleys are where God wants to meet us. It’s in our struggles and low points of life that He wants us to “draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.” – James 4:8 (CSB). Finding the beautiful in the deepest valleys of life can be so difficult. There’s times you might not even see it, but ultimately the beautiful thing is that God is with us every step of the way through it. You can see His beauty in the lush green foliage and the flowers that bloom, or in the fog that rolls in drenching his creation with moisture necessary for growth, or in the birds that sing His praise. “Aren’t two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your father’s consent. … So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows” – Matthew 10:29, 31 (CSB). He is with us through every trial, struggle and valley of life if we allow Him to be. With the Holy Spirit living in us, we are forever connected with God and He will reveal himself to us in unexpected ways if we let Him. Being ever-aware of His creation and goodness through the times of struggle is so important and might truly be the only way to get through sometimes.
When you’re feeling sad or alone, He might send a bird to sing at your window. When you’re feeling unworthy or ugly, He might make you aware of a beautiful garden to remind you that all of his creation is beautiful, including you. “For we are God’s masterpiece…” – Ephesians 2:10 (NLT). When you wonder if He even hears your prayers, he might stir up a strong breeze that whistles through the trees or make the sun peek out from behind the clouds in response. God knows so much more than we ever can or will about our lives here on Earth. We may never understand why the valley we’re going through was ever allowed to be a part of our journey through life, but we must rely on Him to reveal to us the beauty around us, even in the midst of our struggle. Our days would be so much worse if we shut Him out and refused to acknowledge that he is good, always. “Shall we accept only good from God and not adversity?” – Job 2:10 (CSB).
God is with us in our valleys of life. He would love nothing more than to meet us only on mountaintops when we have more perspective; that was His original intent for our world when He created it. We do live in a fallen world, though, and so we must remember to hold on through the trying times, knowing that He won’t just be waiting for us on the other side of struggle, but that He is with us through it. His glorious creation is for us to enjoy and be made aware of. When everything seems dark and dismal, His beauty and presence is all around us; we just have to see it.