To be honest, some days seem too much to bear. All hope, peace and joy seem lost, and I feel too weary to take another step. Yet, as I sat down to do my morning devotions today, I noticed something that I had been too wrapped up in my troubles to see before. Each day I've been hoping for the valley to end and praying for the restoration of hope, peace and joy to my life. And while God has not yet provided an exit out of the valley, He has been giving me daily reminders that He's still walking with me. Unfortunately, I've been too preoccupied to notice, but this morning's reminder was so unmistakable that I couldn't miss it. Then, as I thought back over the past few days and weeks, I realized that God had been sending strength and encouragement all along. A verse here. A song there. In the valley, God is still with me, even though at times He feels so very far away.
I share this with you, not for pity, but for prayers and also to hopefully encourage someone who might be traveling in a similar valley. May I take just a moment to share with you what the Lord reminded me of this morning? (If you said, "no," too bad. It's my blog, and I'm going to anyway. Hehehe!)
And the servants of the king of Syria said unto him, Their gods are gods of the hills; therefore they were stronger than we; but let us fight against them in the plain, and surely we shall be stronger than they. . . And it came to pass at the return of the year, that Benhadad numbered the Syrians, and went up to Aphek, to fight against Israel. And the children of Israel were numbered, and were all present, and went against them: and the children of Israel pitched before them like two little flocks of kids; but the Syrians filled the country. And there came a man of God, and spake unto the king of Israel, and said, Thus saith the Lord, Because the Syrians have said, The Lord is God of the hills, but he is not God of the valleys, therefore will I deliver all this great multitude into thine hand, and ye shall know that I am the Lord. - I Kings 20:23-28
Benhadad, the king of the Syrians, was going up against Ahab, the king of Israel. You remember Ahab, right? The evil, wicked king who was married to Jezebel, a woman of similar evil. It almost seems odd that God would aid Ahab, but we have to remember that Israel is still God's chosen people, even during the times they had a wicked king. Plus, God was doing more than helping, He was making a point.
The Syrians had it in their minds that Israel would fall in they could battle down in the valley. Everyone would be on equal footing, and no one would have the advantage. No high ground, so to speak. But the Syrians made one miscalculation. They forgot to factor God into the equation. Israel's victory had nothing to do with where the battle was fought but rather with the One who was on their side. Mountain or valley--it made no difference to God, for He is Lord of both. He rules it all and controls it all, but best of all, He inhabits it all. That's why the psalmist David could say, "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me." David knew that the God of the mountains is also the God of the valleys.
I don't know the nature of your valley anymore than I understand the nature of my own. I can't promise you that your dark journey will soon be over and that you'll be enjoying the view from the mountaintop by this time next week. But one thing I can assure you of is that you're not alone. God is with you in your valley. He is leading, guiding and preparing you for the mountaintop. In the meantime, as much as it hurts, don't rush the experience. Don't wish it away. Just settle in for the long haul, complete in the knowledge that you'll never walk alone. He's there, even in the valley. And as we can see from the story in I Kings, He's just as powerful and victorious in the valley as He is on the mountain. It's all the same to Him.
To borrow a line from one of my new favorite Brian Free and Assurance songs: "It's quite a valley, but nothing He won't bring you through."