People in the valley often have little perspective on how big the mountains really are, how long the range is, or what is waiting on the other side. Isn’t it wonderful to know that whatever valleys life tries to shove us into, God has provided perspective we badly need, yes, even crave?
What really gets you down? Maybe economy, politics, sorrow, trouble, rumors, falsehood, families, wars, persecution or simply dread of the future? What valley are you walking through? The challenge in the valley is this: remembering that God is bigger than all those things and works His purposes despite (and often because of) those things being present (Romans 8:28). Consider how better to cultivate God’s perspective in the valley:
Turn off or minimize messages that cause you to focus on the valleys. Want to get depressed really quickly? Look at news, newsfeeds, front page articles, conspiracy theories, etc. You will adopt a fearful, despairing, negative mentality pretty quickly. Minimize or eliminate the messages that will negatively affect your trust in God (Ps. 23:4; Matt. 14:28-33). Replace them with messages of trust and comfort (2 Cor. 1:3-7; Ps. 16).
Cry out to the God who hears and cares for us (1 Pet. 5:6-7). The psalmist cried out to God from the depths (lit. abyss, deep ditch) (Ps. 130:1). Peter cried out from the water rapidly engulfing him (Matt. 14:30). Many of us drown in sorrows created in our lives instead of turning our eyes upon the One who raises us to stand on higher ground! Consider that when we go through the valleys, it is a reminder that there is nothing we ourselves possess or call upon that can get us out of the valley (see Jer. 9:23-24). God wants us to cry out to Him. He hears. He cares. Where do you turn when you don’t know where to turn (Jas. 4:8-10)?
Follow Jesus through the valley. God has not promised us that He will remove the valleys (Ps. 23:4), rather that He will be with us in the valley. Jesus faithfully followed God and it led Him to the cross. Yet, through His valley, He did not grumble or complain. He did not charge God falsely or lash out at others. Instead, He patiently bore the cross, and He compels us to do the same (Luke 9:23). In fact, He learned obedience through His suffering (Heb. 5:8). God is leading us to higher ground if we will be patient and follow Jesus faithfully through our valley (Phil. 3:8-14).
Graeber Road church of Christ