You’ve been there.
In the midst of a dark valley. The fog hangs over your head.
Look around. Can you see it?
Rough walls on either side. The stillness. The quite.
Left and right are not options. It’s either going back to where you just came from or trekking through to what lies ahead.
Which direction will you choose? Or will you not move at all?
Do you become paralyzed?
Are you exhausted? Overwhelmed? Doubtful?
We all go through these valley’s in life. We aren’t always on the highs of the mountain tops.
I firmly believe that if it wasn’t for the valley’s in life we would never grow. We wouldn’t depend on God as our source of strength like we do.
It’s hard. It’s scary. And sometimes we wonder if the sun will ever shine again.
We question what God is doing in the midst of our darkness.
When you can’t see him moving does that mean he isn’t?
I just finished reading the story of Joseph.
You know the one:
Joseph has a dream that his whole family will bow down to him. He shares the dream with his family and his brothers hate him for it. In short they strip him of his clothes planning to leave him in the desert to die. Plans change and they sell him as a slave to passing merchants heading to Egypt. They bathe his clothes in blood to make their father believe he was killed by an animal.
This was one of the valley’s Joseph found himself in.
But then we see:
The Lord was with Joseph and he prospered, and he lived in the house of his Egyptian master. – Genesis 39:2
Now he is on a mountaintop. Or is he?
You have to pause here. Ask yourself: What was Joseph thinking at this time?
Was he missing his family? Was he angry? He had to have been bitter.
But all you see is the Lord was with Joseph and he prospered.
Potiphar, Joseph’s master, saw that Joseph had God on his side so he put Joseph in charge of everything he owned. Potiphar’s wife desired to be with Joseph but Joseph turned her down. However, she pulled a fast one and set it up to look like they had an affair. Joseph was thrown into prison.
Another valley for Joseph.
Now pause here again. I don’t know what your dialog would look like if you went through this in life but mine would look something like this:
Are you kidding me? Really? How much more can one person take? I DON’T GET IT, GOD! What are you doing, if anything?!
Then…we see the same thing.
But while Joseph was there in prison, the Lord was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden. -Genesis 39:20b-21
Joseph was shown favor and put in charge of everything in prison. A few other people from Pharaoh’s household were thrown into prison with Joseph after some time. Dreams were had and Joseph interpreted them. The dreams came to pass. Joseph asked these people to remember him when they got out of prison and share with Pharaoh his ability so he too could get out of prison. They forgot him and their promise to him. A few years had passed and Pharaoh had a dream and couldn’t find anyone to interpret it for him. That is when one of the two that were once in prison with Joseph remembered his ability. Joseph was called from prison to interpret Pharaoh’s dream.
Let’s pause here.
It needs to be noted that previous to every interpretation Joseph tells the dreamer that he is not the one who interprets but it is God who interprets through him.
After the interpretation of Pharaoh’s dream Joseph comes up with a plan to help Egypt survive the devastation of a coming famine. Pharaoh is impressed and puts him in charge of all of Egypt.
This is when Joseph is risen back onto the mountaintop. And this time to stay. Joseph’s dream from the very beginning of the story comes to full circle when his family is suffering from the famine and comes to Egypt to get food from Joseph.
There are many other notable details in this story. And you should probably go read it to understand the full effect of Josephs valleys and mountaintops!
Faith in the valley…or lack thereof.
We can only assume that Joseph was a normal human…right?
He was just like you and me.
So you know during those trials and hard times he questioned God frequently.
But what else do we see?
We see God was always with him.
God gave him a dream, a vision.
Do you think Joseph really believed in that dream when he was given into slavery then thrown into prison for a crime he didn’t commit?
I don’t think so.
When you are in the valley it can be hard to see that you will ever get out.
It is almost impossible sometimes to believe that God is working this for good.
At the time of struggle, depression, defeat, sorrow, guilt, shame, and heartbreak your mind and heart cannot fathom that this too is part of a growth process. This too is getting you to where God wants you to be.
But that is exactly what the valley is for.
It is God getting you to where he wants you to be.
You might not understand his plans and reasoning but you need to know that God will lift you up out of that valley in due time and set your feet firmly upon the mountain top.
Remember the story of Joseph when you doubt that God is moving and when you doubt that good will ever come from despair and defeat.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. – Romans 8:28
Humble yourselves, therefore under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. – 1 Peter 5:6
Don’t miss out on what God has in store for you. His plans are greater…no matter how confusing they may seem.
May we stand firm in faith during our time in the valley’s and give God the glory through every season of life.