When we go through dark and heavy trials, we compare that time to a valley experience. It feels like the valley because our position seems low and far from the heights of better, higher, and greater things. In the valley, one may feel like the sun doesn’t shine and grey clouds loom. It’s crazy how life has a way of making you feel low, isolated, down, and defeated. Nevertheless, there is victory in the valley! I am reminded of the words found in Psalms 91:1-2.
1He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
2I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.
The entire chapter of Psalms 91 is a great encouragement. I have found comfort from this particular Psalm in my valley experiences. While going through some of the fiercest of trials, I am grateful that God brought me through them in the valley. The valley, though it may appear to be dark and dreary, is a place of protection. In the valley, my enemies and the vultures cannot find me. If the Lord needs to break and change me, I don’t wish to have that experience on the mountain top where others can see me. When I am broken, exposed, and hurting, I’d rather hide under His wings. I find that the Lord is the lily in the valley.
I am the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valleys (Song of Solomon 2:1).
A lily symbolizes humility, chastity, sweetness, purity, and beauty. Rose of Sharon can be translated as “flower in the field.” Even in a field or wilderness experience, God is a rose. He makes vague experiences beautiful. With humility, we learn that God alone is our help. We are sometimes brought low to look up and see that our help comes from the Lord. As forementioned, in times of trial and transformation, being hidden from one’s enemies can be a good thing. Baby birds live safely in their nests, caterpillars in their cocoon before transforming into butterflies, and baby kangaroos in their mother’s pouch for 11 months are hidden from their enemies. Just as they are protected and cared for during their vulnerable times, Our Heavenly Father cares so much for us while we are growing and transitioning. He will let us hide.
Psalm 27:5 says: For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me upon a rock.
Aren’t you happy to know that the Lord will hide you?
When you are crying-He’ll hide you.
When you’re broken, and confused-He’ll hide you.
When you feel lost, and lonely-He’ll hide you.
When you are at your lowest-He’ll hide you.
While He is working on you and your situation-He’ll hide you.
When you are weary, it is in Him that you can find a resting place. He is a preserver until the hour of deliverance.
Another thought concerning the valley is that you are in the perfect posture to get closer to God while you’re down on your knees. In those lonely midnight hours, in the thick of trials, I had no one to talk to but God. While the world was asleep, I found comfort in knowing that the Lord neither sleeps nor does He slumber. The valley may seem lonely, but it is void of distractions and the voices of others. There you can more keenly hear the voice of the Lord. The Bible presents several instances in which individuals received a blessing from the Lord when they were by themselves. While they appeared to have been brought low, they received a blessing from the Lord.
In St John 4:1-25, we learn about the woman at the well. She was by herself when she met Jesus, who changed her life forever. This certain Samaritan woman went to the well to fetch her water. Jesus met her at the well and told her everything she had ever done. In this conversation, Jesus points out that she had had five husbands, and the one she had did not belong to her. This woman was looking for something, be it love or even water. But what she discovered while alone with the Son of man at the well was that she needed the living water. She needed to be cured of her thirst. After basically being called a whore, she could have walked away upset, hurt and angry. But she humbled herself to the truth and received Jesus. She left without her bucket because he had found what no man or earthly water could ever give her. She found the Son of God. She left, declaring, “Come, see a man!”
Naaman was humbled in 2 Kings, chapter 5. He was instructed to dip in the Jordan River to receive deliverance from leprosy, a chronic infectious disease accompanied by skin lesions and nerve damage. In those days, anyone having such a disease was considered unclean. Lepers were outcasts, literally left to suffer and die alone. Naaman, a captain of the host of Syria, was a great man with his master and honorable. He was angry when he learned that to receive his miracle, he needed to submerge himself in one of the lowest and dirtiest rivers.
The Jordan River was known to be smelly, polluted, and contaminated. Naaman, no doubt, already felt dirty and was instructed to go down into a dirty river to come out clean. Not understanding the logic of having to dip in this pool, he alluded to the fact that that there were nicer, cleaner, and better rivers that he could dip in. Nevertheless, with obedience to the Word of God from the man of God, Naaman went down low and dirty but came up clean and restored.
It may seem like you are invisible in your valley experiences, but the valley makes you hidden from your enemies. The valley experience is not to break you but to make you. In the two stories above, the individuals were told harsh truths, but when they heard and obeyed the Word of God, their lives were changed for the better. Allow the valley to humble you.
James 4:10 states: Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will exalt you.
1 Peter 5:6 says: Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time.
The valley gives space for self-reflection and self-evaluation. The valley takes us from our day-to-day lives, often consumed with work, schedules, and routines, but far from spending time with Christ. Sometimes, we need to reset and the Lord has a way of getting our attention. Ofttimes, we get so caught up with things that we prioritize that we act as though we don’t need God. It takes a loving Savior to allow us to realign and come back to right fellowship with Him. The Lord is not willing that any should perish, and although we know that trials will come in our Christian walk, He also promised never to leave nor forsake us. The Lord delivers us from all of our afflictions.
The valley experiences are strategic and not meant to bring defeat so let us use the valley to our advantage. Let us draw nigh to God and rest under His Shadow. A shadow proves that the sun is reflecting on something. So, even in the darkest of valleys, the Shadow of the Almighty is proof that the Son of God, our Lord Jesus, is there with us. We must never forget that there is victory in the valley!
Let us pray: Father, although I am experiencing a valley experience, I know that you are with me. Continue to hide me in your pavilion and remind me that you are the God of the hills and valleys. I humble my will before you, have your way in me. My eyes are toward you. Amen.
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