I thought to encourage you this morning as the LORD has encouraged me. I’m attempting to carefully guard my thoughts as it seems these days are days of uncertainty and despair all around us. It’s as if the LORD is very quiet and a slow darkness is hovering over the land – well, that’s sort of how things look in the valley: a dim covering threatens to hide the light.
A valley can be a very encouraging place – it doesn’t have to be a place of discouragement – though we’re often discouraged in the valleys of our lives. Something I’ve had to remind myself lately, is that the valley is not someplace to set up camp or build a house – a valley is a place we pass through – a place God carries us through in order that He might prepare us for the next climb – the next monument in our lives. We (or, I) too often think that the valley of despair is or is going to be a permanent place – my eternal dwelling place – and that’s simply not true. But it surely seems like it sometimes.
I can recall passing through valleys in my life and being sure those valleys were permanent and the conditions were never going to change. I suppose it wasn’t until I determined to look up – in the valley – and see the Hand of the LORD, and see that He had intended that time – that place – for my good and His glory. I would not have seen that had I continued to focus on myself, my trials, my failings, my disappointments. I only saw His glory when I looked up (still in the valley) to earnestly seek His face and His will. Only then have I seen the Hand of the LORD in the valley. I so often have missed that the LORD has prepared a valley for me so that I *will* seek Him – so that I *will* praise Him.
One of the hardest things to do in a valley is to sing praise to the LORD. But I assure you, if you will but stop, set your burden down and lift your eyes and voice to the LORD, you will sing praises… you will see His glory and He will be your strength and song.
“I will go in the strength of the Lord GOD:
I will make mention of thy righteousness,
even of thine only.”
When my way has seemed dark and the only hope or strength has seemed to fail, I find it difficult to have hope – yet, I know that Jesus is my strength and He only is my hope. But I have to come to a place where I determine: *Thy* will – not *my* will! One of the hardest things in the valley is not the path, but *my* will !
But I will hope continually,
and will yet praise thee more and more.
In the valley, I must continually buffet my will and set my resolve to trust in the LORD – the God of my salvation. I cannot doubt in the valleys what He’s taught me on the mountaintops, and I cannot carelessly squander the marvelous gifts He’s given me along the way. Doubt and despair are “gift squanderers” and murmuring and complaining drain the reservoir of joy. That’s where resolve to trust – resolve to have faith in adversity is so needful.
I must determine to look up… for the LORD has promised to neither leave me nor forsake me. He has said: “But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” (Isaiah 40.31)
I know that His pruning is for my good – for I know He loves me and is continually working that I might reflect His image and His glory. So, though painful, His testings and His prunings are needed that I might yield much fruit. No testing is pleasant for the moment – as no childbirth is pleasant for a moment – but then the great blessing that follows is immeasurable.
So then, my prayer becomes: O, LORD, please let me not fail to see Your Hand in this valley, and please have Your will and Your way in me – that I might give you all the praise, glory and honour due Your name. O, please let me not miss the work you are doing in and through me and let me not dishonour You, nor prove faithless or selfish in this valley. O, LORD, please direct my path, finish the work in me and help thou my unbelief – teach me and show me Your ways. And… O, God – make me thankful! Make me a woman who ever lives to give You praise.
But the path of the just is as the shining light,
that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.
O, dear sisters… if your way is weary and the path looks dreary, I pray you will hold on – I pray that God will be your strength and your song and that you will not despair. I pray that He will strengthen you to trust Him – He is able!
I pray for you, this, from Ephesians 3.17-21
“That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.”
Again, may you never forget in the valleys what God has taught you on the mountaintops.
With sincere love,
your sister in Christ, —pamela