I’ve never been able to understand why Christians talk about “the
valley” so much. We talk about the valley like we’re all on some
pilgrimage, hauling backpacks across dry land for years before we see
any sight of water. I’ve learned no one ever talks about the valley like
it’s a good thing. Just the opposite — everyone dreads the valley.
When everything was exciting, I was happy…
But eventually things stop being cool and we are left with everyday life.
“You’re in the valley.” This is her third time saying it. “Welcome to it.”
She (Carol) touches my shoulder as if she’s welcoming me to a club she’s been in for years.
I spend the rest of my time at home plowing through the Bible, searching for every reference to a valley I can find.
“Something really beautiful and necessary happens in the valley”
out, valleys are depressing places in the Bible, too, when we first
look at them. Look a little closer though. Something happens in the
valley. Something really beautiful and necessary happens in the valley.
But really, this is most of my relationship with God. I see some dismal
outcome and God is constantly pushing me to look closer and see
I want God to pluck me out of this time
of waiting, give me all the answers I’m asking for, and then send me on
my way to my next adventure.
And so I tell him, “Pluck me out
of this time of waiting, give me all the answers I am asking for, and
then send me on my way to my next adventure.”
But no. He just
leads me to Leviticus. Where there is plenty of valley stuff. Like God
is sending me to my room, I get sent to the confines of Leviticus.
“Reality is the tough stuff.”
is probably gone for less than a day before the Israelites go
stir-crazy and want a new god. They decide they’re going to make their
own god, and they settle on a golden calf to worship.
We look at
this and think we would never do something so dumb. But you can replace
the word cow with anything we find in everyday life that we think could
fill us more than God could. I would definitely be dancing around the
cow in the hope that the cow would affirm me and make me feel alive.
comes off the mountaintop and has to face all of this crap. If I’d been
Moses, I would have wanted to be done. I would have been angry over the
fact that I’d just had this perfect time and communion with God and
then was forced to walk down the mountain and go back to reality.
Reality is the tough stuff. Reality is what happens when we make
ourselves come back to earth instead of running.
“The valley is full of travelers.”
We want to run because it feels too hard to stay in these places where we aren’t sure of what’s coming next.
I think I am on a solo quest, I realize the valley is full of
travelers. Some are plowing full steam ahead. Others are tired and have
stopped walking. Oswald Chambers writes, “God gives us a vision, and then He takes us down to the valley to batter us into the shape of that vision…”
[written by Hannah Brencher]