Valleys

Life isn’t easy. There are “ups” and there are “downs,” and sometimes it just seems like the “downs” never end. It’s like taking one step forward and then falling into a pit. I’ve heard that pit described as a “valley.”

When I was a kid my mother and stepfather would take us to Las Vegas on several occasions and we would drive through Death Valley. This valley was barren—nothing but endless miles of sand. It was such a big valley that I never saw the mountains that surrounded it.

Every now and then our “downs” feel like we are walking through Death Valley—we feel alone, there’s nothing good that we see, and sometimes it just feels scary. It makes me wonder why God would allow us to experience that.

Exodus 13:17-18 says, “When Pharaoh finally let the people go, God did not lead them along the main road that runs through Philistine territory, even though that was the shortest route to the Promised Land…God led them in a roundabout way through the wilderness…” (NLT).

The wilderness that the Israelites went through was very much like Death Valley—they had no water or food because the land was barren. They had to rely on God to give them food and water:

“They traveled in this desert for three days without finding any water. When they came to the oasis of Marah, the water was too bitter to drink… “What are we going to drink?” they demanded. So Moses cried out to the Lord for help, and the Lord showed him a piece of wood. Moses threw it into the water, and this made the water good to drink…

… the whole community of Israel complained…“you have brought us into this wilderness to starve us all to death.”…Then the Lord said to Moses, “I have heard the Israelites’ complaints. Now tell them, ‘In the evening you will have meat to eat, and in the morning you will have all the bread you want. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God’” (Exo. 15:22-25; 16:2-3, 11-12).

I thought about two things:

  1. God allows us to experience “valleys” in our life because He wants us to rely on Him more– He will take care of us.
  2. God wants us to know that even though we may feel alone while in the “valley,” He is with us and He will help us get through it.

Copyright © 2014 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

The Valley

I’ve only been running/jogging for a few days now, but I’m starting to notice a pattern of when I am prone to getting tired during my run. At about 2.5 miles I start to struggle but after a couple more miles I have more energy. The up and down pattern of my workout reminded me of life in general. I think all of us have felt sadness or depression at some point in our lives. In fact, there are several accounts of sadness or even depression that is illustrated in the Bible: Hannah (1 Sam 1:10), Job (Job 7:11), and Jesus (John 11:33-35) are examples.

To me, being sad or depressed is like being in a valley—the beautiful mountains are all around and I just want to be in the midst of its beauty but I’m in the flat area—isolated and alone.

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When I am in the valley I try to think about Psalm 23: 4— “Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me” (NLT).

Being in the valley can be a lonely place, but that’s where God works on me. I think God puts me in the valley sometimes to get my attention so that I will turn to Him. I find that I rely on Him more when I am in the valley, and when I get out of the valley I am stronger, spiritually. I don’t really like the valley, though, so I have to remember Him even when I am not in the valley—“… Beware that in your plenty you do not forget the LORD your God…” (Deu 8:11), but if this is the way God wants to shape me, then I am willing to go through the valley because I know He has meant it for good and He will take me through it.

Copyright © 2013 M. Teresa Trascritti