Hope In The Valley

Hope In The Valley
   “Mountaintops are for views and inspirations, but fruit is grown in the valleys,” Billy Graham once stated. Interestingly, the Bible talks of mountaintops and valleys 500 times.
   Sometimes we are in a valley experience. The familiar mountain is currently behind us, and now our days seem shadowy and even dark. Instead of being refreshing, even the trees look large and foreboding with weird and unexpected shapes. Sometimes the people we are with even appear different, distorted, and unfamiliar. We long for the sunshine, color, and internal happiness we felt, and we probably wonder when we will ascend out of the valley and back into the sunshine.
   Often while in the valley, we feel that it will be our permanent home. Mountain days were quick and fleeting, and nights were restful. But in the valley, nights seem never-ending, full of troubled dreams and unanswered questions. Valley nights can be more painful than valley days.
   Throughout the valley days, whether they are brief or seemingly ceaseless, the only control we have is of ourselves. We desperately want to change the circumstances, challenges, and even our traveling companions, but the knowledge that we cannot causes valley days to seem longer than they actually are.
   In these times of dark distress, the only options are clinging to our Shepherd, choosing to ask Him to change us, and surrendering to the process. And, as we grieve and admit the reality of the dark days, God works. He works in ways unimaginable to us, producing fruit and preparing us for greater service!
   As we sojourn together, even through distressing valley days, may we find relief by reading, especially, Psalm 104 with its timely reminder: God is creator and sustainer. Verse 10 states, “You make springs gush forth in the valleys; they flow between the hills…” (ESV). And with those springs comes great fruitfulness!
   Moving to the New Testament, Christ exemplifies the valleys of life and reveals He is also the redeemer. Jesus gave His greatest sermon on a mount, was transfigured to His Heavenly Glory on a mountain, and climbed up whenever traveling to Jerusalem. This same Savior, however, prayed fervently in the shadowed wood, asking His Father to help Him to accept His Father’s will. At His death, He even descended to the valley of hell.
   He arose out of that valley: victorious, stronger than ever, the Great Deliverer to give eternal help and life. He knows firsthand the betrayal, pain, and suffering of valleys. And HE CONQUERED IT ALL! May we know that valley days are temporary, that deliverance will come, and the Conquering Christ can be our Conquering Savior!
   As Kelly Willard so beautifully sang in the song “Hidden Valleys:”
   “Hidden valleys produce a life song. Hidden valleys will make a heart strong…Hidden valleys turn shepherds to kings.”
-Rebecca Logan, Retired UPMC Chaplain, Member Lycoming Valley Baptist Church