Don’t you just love that feeling of nostalgia you get when it seems like all is right with the world. When your bank account isn’t negative and the traffic’s just right on your way home. Maybe, your kid just got an A+ on a project at school and your next in line for promotion. Your thinking, “Man could this get any better. Praise the Lord!” You go to church the next Sunday still on a good high from the way you’ve been feeling about life. You raise your hands higher in worship, you’re giving high fives in the foyer, you even feel like this is the Sunday you are going to give a little extra in your missions offering. Your feel like the Lord deserves all kinds of praise right now. You have no problem going to bible study, you are abnormally focused on the word and you want to obey the Lord with all your might. Because why would you not with things working out so good. Seems so easy!
Then comes Friday, and the peak of your mountain has turned into a valley low. Now what? Are we still going to praise the Lord the same? Are we going to walk out that same obedience we displayed when everything was copacetic? It’s definitely a little more difficult to stick to a righteous walk when the pressures on and it seems easier to go in the other direction. At times, when the going gets rough, it feels like we’ve been abandoned out in the wilderness. Like we’re stuck out there to fend for ourselves. Then we start reverting back to some old ways and some old comfort zones. Drawing out irrational thoughts and emotions that lead us away from the truth. Forgetting every promise and provision we’ve ever known from the Lord. Then we use those feelings to justify our unrighteous behavior during our time of distress. A lot like in Jeremiah, “How can you say, ‘I am not defiled; I have not run after the Baals’? See how you behaved in the valley; consider what you have done. You are a swift she-camel running here and there, a wild donkey accustomed to the desert, sniffing the wind in her craving— in her heat who can restrain her?” (Jeremiah 2:23-24). Somewhere in all the chaos of the trial we loose sight of truth and start to believe the old lies. Not realizing that we are revealing the truth about our faith, our motivations, our strength, our maturity, ourselves while we respond to walking through the valley.
It’s human nature to throw up the defenses and quickly react, leaving all common sense and wisdom behind. Maybe it’s some kind of useless survival technique or something. I have failed the valley test many times. You can completely feel like a small animal backed into a corner by a predator with no way out when you face trials. And though it’s hard to grasp when we are facing the beast, our Father will always provide a way out of the temptation that attaches itself to the trial. “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13.
He doesn’t leave us alone out in the desert. There’s always a 4×4 with the keys in it waiting for us to hop in, because there is a purpose for that suffering that leads to our growth and overall good (Romans 8:28). “We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance, and endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.” Romans 5:3-4. So we can trade the panic for the promise and praise before we react irrationally like the flesh wants to. We can latch on to what we know is true and remember our deliverance to help us walk through the valley with righteousness. Keeping our integrity in tact as we honor our Christ. We can keep our hands raised high, we can high five the guy in the foyer at church with the same enthusiasm, we can be excited to give to God’s missions, we can dance around the valley and still say, “Praise the Lord!” Our hope does not rest in the circumstance, but in the one who securely holds it.
Lord, thank You for your watchful eyes and loving hands. Thank you for standing with us in the valleys of life. Help us to remember Your promises when the walls are closing in. God show us what Hope really looks like in Jesus. Slow our thoughts and line them up with yours. Straighten our ways Lord so that they will line up with yours. Thank You Lord for your faithfulness. In Jesus name Amen!