“Fall Overlook in Dillard Valley”
Victory in the Valleys
“The man of God came up and told the king of Israel, “This is what the Lord says: ‘Because the Arameans think the Lord is a god of the hills and not a god of the valleys, I will deliver this vast army into your hands, and you will know that I am the Lord’.” 1 Kings 20:28 NIV
I recently came across this verse in my morning devotional. I have read the passage before, but I must have skimmed right over it, missing the beautiful nugget of truth embedded within. Like the Arameans, we sometimes forget that our God is not only the God of our Mountaintop experiences, but also our Valley-low experiences as well. The story in 1 Kings recounts a great victory in battle by Israel’s tiny army, 7000 men, against the vast Aramean army. God gave Israel the victory in that battle, which was fought in a valley, and the casualties for the Arameans numbered over 125,000. The Lord wanted all to know that He not only is God of the hills, but also God of the valleys. God was glorified through this “victory in the valley.”
At times we find ourselves in a “valley of life,” and it is easy to lose sight of the fact that God is right there with us, fighting our battles for us. Presently, we are in a type of economic valley. The current global recession is a deep dip in our business cycle. We all feel the pain of the slump in our economy, and each one of us has felt some degree of financial discomfort as a result. Yet through this precarious monetary situation, we must learn to place our trust in our Heavenly Father instead of our bank accounts or retirement funds. In Deuteronomy 8:17-18, we are reminded, “You may say to yourself, ‘My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.’ But remember the LORD your God, for it is He who gives you the ability to
produce wealth…” And despite the downward slide of the stock market on Wall Street or the downturn of real estate values, we can hold fast to His promises. “He will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the LORD is the key to this treasure.” (Isaiah 33:6) God is the Lord of the highs and the lows of the financial markets.
Another type of low point some may experience is an emotional valley. By definition, a valley is also known as a depression, which is a widely diagnosed condition in our society. Those who suffer from this prolonged state of emotional dejection, sadness and withdrawal must realize that God is right there with them in their hopelessness. His word speaks life and hope into the depths of their despair and promises that “…there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress…The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death, a light has dawned.” (Isaiah 9:1 -2) God’s love can shine brilliant light into the deepest caverns of your heart and soul. God is the Lord of the highs and the lows of our emotional state.
An illness is a type of physical valley that we all suffer through at times. Some illnesses take us to greater depths than others. While our bodies wage war with the invading infection or disease, we must remember that God is with us through every step of the process. In our weakened condition, His word gives us encouragement, “Those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (Isaiah 40: 31) His word also provides comfort and assurance in our most critical illnesses, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”
Our God, The Great Physician, is the Lord of the highs and the lows of our physical state.
The death of a loved one is perhaps the most painful low we can experience. Mourning is a valley of sadness that we experience over the loss of a beloved person in our life. It can last for a prolonged period of time and cause us to feel like we will never come out of the vast canyon of grief. Yet even at a time when no human comfort is effective, God promises in His word, “…I will turn their mourning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow.” (Jeremiah 31:13) God, our Comforter, is Lord of our sorrow.
Interestingly, geographic valleys are places of lush, fertile land. Mountaintops are not known for growing an abundance of crops. Over time, the elements have eroded the peaks, leaving very little topsoil for vegetation to grow. For example, the higher elevations of the Sierra Nevada Mountain Ranges have very little vegetation growing, yet Napa Valley down below is one of the most fertile regions of the world for growing world-class grapes. The rain and snow drain down from the mountaintops and flow into the valley, carrying rich nutrients which feed the crops and vegetation growing there. Likewise, our valleys of life can be fertile grounds for producing bountiful spiritual fruit. Most spiritual growth is a result of the valley experiences we face. God can use those experiences to harvest a bumper crop of fruit in your life. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” (Galatians 5:21-23) He can also use those times to draw us into closer relationship and total dependence on Him. Without our time in the valleys, we would not experience such an abundance of spiritual growth.
When you find yourself in a deep gorge of life, look up and realize that your heavenly Father is the God of your hills and your valleys. He is the one true God and wants to bring victory in the valleys for His children. He will receive glory in the process, and all will know He was and is Lord of all, forever!
“Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.” (Psalm 25:5)