In my previous post, I addressed the reality of the Christian’s periodic valley-like experiences. In that season we can experience one or more of the following undesirable realities: 1) dryness 2) distance 3) discouragement and 4) desperation. My own personal testimony is that breakthrough typically comes when we have gone fully though our times of desperation for God. Desperation is that excruciating and necessary season wherein we find that our desire for the presence and power of God eclipses anything and everything else. It is here that we stop asking for our circumstances to change, as we then are only hungering for that sense of His nearness and covenant, no matter if things improve for us or not. Again, the psalmist instructs his very own soul in what needs to occur as he passes through the valley. In three verses, his spiritual equilibrium returns to him and he exclaims,
“Hope in God; for I shall again praise Him, my salvation and my God. By day the LORD commands His steadfast love, and at night His song is with me, a prayer to the God of my life. Hope in God; for I shall again praise Him, my salvation and my God.” (Psalm 42:5, 6, 8 & 11)
If you are looking for a perfect recipe that you can whip out every time your valley season arrives, I will likely leave you disappointed today. Because God is not into giving us repeatable, predictable formulas by which to live, He ensures that each trial and testing reveals something new to His children, and produces something new in them. Because He is supremely worthy, He purposefully inserts puzzling elements into each valley season which force us to come to Him with our need. The Father requires that we trust Him in the end, not in some formula that He gives us. So, the psalmist doesn’t reveal too many specifics in his answer to his own dilemma. He simply determines that, while walking out his own valley season, he will wait on his God in steadfast faith.
Waiting and abiding are not spectacular, I know. But they are the core elements in exiting our valleys victoriously.
The psalmist says in the verses above that he will Hope, Praise, Sing, Pray, Hope again and then Praise again. He preaches to himself that the answer in his valley is to fully fixate his heart on the greatness and worthiness of God. While still in the valley, He confidently declares that God is his lone saving hope. He pushes through the thicket of his trouble and summons a song from his spirit. He remembers that God is in control of his life, so he counsels himself to hope rather than to despair of being forgotten. At the risk of my sounding overly simplistic, I suggest that the psalmist is showing us that, if we will fight through all of our weakness, fear and trouble, and then lift a broken, patient and hopeful song to Him, the valley will no longer seem like a grave. He is experiencing emotional resurrection, and he is not faking a thing.
Christians, God is not some stoic scorekeeper sitting on a cosmic umpire’s chair in Heaven. Our praise and trust of Him when we are stretched, pressed, crunched or chomped actually means something to Him. God is not an inventor remotely operating His robotic creations. He is a Father – loving, raising, teaching and accompanying those to whom He imparted precious life. The valley is not the end of you.
It is your
So, with the psalmist, you can Hope…Praise…Sing…Pray…Hope again and then Praise again.
That’s when the light dawns and, for the first time in a long while, you will see that the exit end of your valley has deposited you on a high mountain, from which you will have an elevated perspective that you never would have found without walking that valley all the way through.