Daily Devotional – I’m Normal.™ I AM Ministries
“To promote Godly living in a culture committed to destroying it”
Monday, June 13, 2016
Life in the Valley
During my residence in Colorado, God allowed me the blessing of hiking to the summit of a number of the state’s 14,000-ft mountain peaks. I remember each one as a special moment, having expended great physical effort and mental determination to ascend. Standing at the top of the world, breathing the thin air and looking down on God’s creation, brings an exhilaration I will treasure for a lifetime.
The journey of our life here on Earth brings other moments in our lives when we are on top of the world. Perhaps the joyous occasion is our wedding day, the birth of a child, a new job, a major accomplishment, or some other special event that will last a lifetime in our memories. We treasure these good times and share them with others to show how God has blessed certain moments in our lives.
Your Earthly achievements make you realize how these peak moments come all too infrequently and are brief in duration. After these cherished events, the tedious routine of daily life quickly recalibrates our emotions and the happiness we felt on “peak day” begins to fade. Worse, life often forces us to experience times of difficulty where we are far below the peak. Instead of maintaining our peak position, we are thrust into a valley, struggling through low spots in our daily existence.
These days in the valley seem somehow to outnumber by far those spent on the peak. We know every day is a gift from God, but He doles out special days sparingly. Why then, does God force us to spend so much time in the valley instead of in the glory at the peak? Psalm 1:3 speaks to one reason this is so: “He (a man) is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season.” Through this verse, God imparts some of His wisdom as to why it is necessary and good to live so much of our lives in the valley instead of at the summit.
We all know the strongest oaks grow in the valley, not at the top of a mountain. Likewise, the prettiest flowers are found in valley meadows and not on rarified pinnacles. Similarly, fruit trees rarely inhabit areas of topographic elevation. These things all point to why God keeps us off the peaks.
The top of a mountain is typically rocky and barren, an environment unsuitable for nurturing life. Rainfall is unpredictable and often accompanied by violent storms. So close to the sun, the radiation literally fries many types of plant life before they have a chance to grow. I remember the buffeting winds that swirled atop many of Colorado’s highest peaks, which were so abrasive the trees at higher elevations had branches only on the downwind side of the tree trunks. On a more human scale, the thin air can cause dizziness and make us think the top is our normal, natural place.
God plants us in the valleys so we can take advantage of the rich soils that accompany the lowland areas. A tree has great difficulty taking root and sustaining itself on a rock, but anchors itself quickly in fertile valley soils. Tender, delicate roots can also find much needed moisture as the Psalm indicates, without which it would wither and die.
Whereas life in the valley is conducive to tree growth, it is still not easy. The tree is still susceptible to storms, floods, erosion, attacks by humans and other animals, drought, disease, insects, and a multitude of other problems. This applies to our own lives. We spend most of our time in the valleys where conditions for growth are more appropriate than at the peak, but life is seldom easy. We, too, endure storms, attacks, disease, and all manner of difficulties. Yet amazingly, this is where we grow best. This is the place where God builds us and strengthens us so we can go forth and do His bidding the way He wishes.
Think about it: when was the last time you grew spiritually when you were at the top of the mountain? I know I can say it has only been when I’ve been sequestered in the valley for long periods that I experienced spiritual growth. It’s natural to want to experience the high points in life every day because they make us happy. Success, however, can make us prideful, so God tempers our lives by restricting us from the temptation of the heights (1 Corinthians 10:13). He knows it is normal for us to grow in the valleys even if life isn’t easy or exciting.
You may be going through valleys in your life right now. Be comforted that God is with you and that He cares about you. He will give you the strength to make it through these difficulties. Whether He’s preparing you to be a strong, tall oak or a beautiful flower, He has a purpose for your time in the valley. He will grow you, no doubt. One day, believers will be in the Heavenly heights He has promised to us through our faith in Jesus Christ, and there will be no more life in the valley. Trust in Him. It’s God’s normal plan.
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