Read James 1:12-18
I live on a steep hill. Every day when I take a walk, I am reminded of the elevation change. My heart rate quickens and my muscles strain as I climb that hill from the road to my house. My neighbor and friend lives at the bottom of the hill. She always reminds me of the amazing views from my home and yard, and I remind her of how cozy and nestled-in her home feels. We’ve discovered that the two vantage points are really distinct, and that both have pros and cons.
In life, we like to see clearly. We like to know what’s next. We thrive during the “peak” experiences. It seems like all too soon the peaks naturally slope downward and we find ourselves running to keep from falling as we head into a valley. What does God have for us in those valley moments?
The hemmed-in feeling of the valley offers protection. Though we may not have a long sight of vision, the valley moments of life might be protection by God. His hand might just put us there to prepare us or protect us for the next thing we are moving onto. When times are hard, we are more apt to press into God and really seek His face rather than tumbling head over heels into our own wills. The famous 23rd Psalm reminds us that “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and staff, they comfort me.” Scripture clarifies for us that the valley seasons of life are times when God’s Presence is ever-close to us and a deep source of comfort.
As I huff and puff up my driveway, I am reminded that the valley offered some respite before the climb. The clarity of the peaks in life come linked with responsibility. The valley is good preparation for the peak moments. If we didn’t have that desperate reliance on God, if we didn’t know how to reach for His hand when all feels dark and overwhelming, how could we use the bright moments to shine for Him? We likely would shine for ourselves only.