Walking Through a Valley
Glynnis Whitwer

"Send forth your light and your truth, let them guide me; let them bring me to your holy mountain, to the place where you dwell." Psalm 43:3 (NIV)

I live in a valley. Every direction I look there are mountains. Living in the West, my family also vacations in mountains. Because of that, it seems I spend lots of time in valleys. One truth I've learned is if you keep walking, you will eventually get out.

One summer we took a trip to Southern Utah, with a stop at Bryce Canyon. It was warm outside, and it only got warmer as we headed down into the canyon. It was a great hike as we circled the interesting rock spires called hoodoos. We wound our way down the valley with steep mountains on all sides. After a while, I was hot, tired and ready to sit down and relax.

As I rested on a rock, I looked up at the canyon rim, wiping salty sweat out of my eyes. It looked very far away. I wished for a shortcut to get out, but knew there wasn't any. Short of calling in a helicopter, there was only one way out, and it was to walk across the valley and up the mountain. Sitting there on that rock might give me a moment's rest, but it didn't get me out of the valley.

I've also been in other valleys: those of fear, worry and hopelessness. I'll be honest. When I'm in those valleys, my inclination is to sit. Fear paralyzes me. Worry straps itself to my feet like weights. Hopelessness misconstrues reality so I'm blinded to the truth. And so I stay, planted firmly in the valley of misery. Over and over, I review how others have hurt me, and forecast possible fearful outcomes. None of those choices gets me out of the valley of misery. In fact, they get me nowhere.

What does get me out of those difficult valleys is when I keep walking, and walking to me is when I keep praying even though it seems like my prayers hit the ceiling. It's when I keep reading my Bible, even though the words seem to have less meaning. It's when I keep going to church or a small group even when I'd rather stay home. It's singing songs of worship, even though my heart isn't soaring with joy. But when I keep doing those things, I take steps toward truth and eventually get out of the valley.

Walking through a valley to me means doing the things that are healthy and God-honoring, even when I don't feel like doing them. There is always a way out of a valley. But it means I have to keep walking, then climb a mountain, and that takes work. But when I do the work, God rewards me with a breathtaking view.

Dear Lord, please speak to my heart in my darkest valleys. I need to remember that You are the truth, and not my circumstances. Help me have the strength to do the right things, and not stay planted in misery during a time of difficulty. I long to be out of this valley. But I will praise You now at the bottom and I will praise You from the mountain top – for You are worthy! In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
31 Days of Praise: Enjoying God Anew by Ruth Myers

Visit Glynnis’s blog

6 Habits of Highly Effective Christians by Brian T. Anderson & Glynnis Whitwer

Application Steps:
If you are in a valley of suffering, what is one spiritual discipline you can incorporate into your life today, even though you don't feel like doing it?

Reflections:
Why do many Christians stop doing spiritually beneficial activities when they are in a dark valley?

List five things you can do to keep your faith strong during rough times.

Power Verses:
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)

Psalm 90:1-2, "Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations. Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God." (NIV)

Luke 3:4b-5, "Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him. Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill made low. The crooked roads shall become straight, the rough ways smooth." (NIV)

© 2009 by Glynnis Whitwer. All rights reserved.

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10 Comments:

Anonymous Debby said...

Awesome.Thank you for that devotion. Last week, I was really in a "valley" funk and did not feel like going to church. God said, "Go anyway." So we went. Then my husband decided he wanted to try a new Sunday school class. Great. I did not feel like going go church, and I definitely did not feel like meeting a bunch of new people in a Sunday school class, but God said, "Go anyway." So I went. Guess what? We ended up meeting a couple who were an absolute answer to a prayer for my husband's career as well as making a new friedship, something we had been praying about. So I can testify, when you feel you are in a valley, keep walking....the mountain top may be closer than you think!

Anonymous Cynthia A. said...

awesome, as always! So on time!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Praise the Lord for your ministry. I have been rooted in the valley and with your faithful and encouraging devotionals, I know I will be uprooted and taken upward! Thank you so much!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you, I am in the valley and GOD totally used your ministry to speak to me and instruct me what to do! Praise GOD for your faithfulness.

OpenID Jocelynn said...

Thanks for pointing out that sometimes we need to use our "thinkers" when our "feelers" are not up to par. Our relationship with God is about wisdom, not emotion. Also, most of growth happens in the valley, not the mountaintops. SO we can hold fast to what we know, and GROW!

Blogger LaVonne Loewen said...

I just want to thank you so much for the inspiration!! This past week I've been walking through a major valley, and your devotionals have truly spoken to my heart and blessed me! Thank you!

Blogger Liesa George said...

I FELT LIKE THIS WAS TO ME FROM GOD. THANK YOU, I SINCERELY NEEDED THIS. www.lifebygeorge.blogspot.com

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This was a great devo. Yes, we must strive to be close to the Lord so we can have the strength to keep going. No valley of mine is as deep or as terrible as what our Lord went through. Thinking of His suffering always helps me to continue to praise His Name even though I might have difficult circumstances.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been living in the valley...just when I feel that my head is rising above the fog, another wave of shadowy darkness falls.

Thanks for your encouragement to keep on putting one foot in front of the other (so to speak) and that eventually I will find I am out of the valley...

A friend one time put it that the valley is only the crease in the palm of God's hand....

God bless you.

Blogger Old Timer said...

Hello Folks. After reading this message outline, I think I have the perfect song to review when thinking on Valley experiences. Its band new, and offers a unique view of suffering and the presence of God through the suffering. Meant as an outreach type song, and also comforting to Christians, you need to listen to the third verse directly after the instrumental bridge before the songs message becomes crystal clear. Check out the song "Walking Through a Valley" available by searching for it at www.jango.com The band name is "The Phill Botting Band" and my name is Steve Fenton. If any of you chesk out the song, please drop me a line with any comments. Thanks, and God Bless you all

Colossians 3;23

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