Why Lord, Why?
Have you ever asked that question in life or in ministry? Have you ever been in a time you feel like its as dry as a dessert or deep as a valley?
No one likes to go through these times for sure but, it probably isn’t news to you that we all need these times to realize who we are and who God is. These times are never easy or enjoyed, even though James tells us to, “count it all joy…” and even though we know, “all things work together for good”…. it doesn’t feel joyful or good. So what does one do when you find yourself in these places asking so many questions?
First, look inward and check your pride, expectations and timetable. What do I mean by that? I’ve learned in my current time here in the valley, that I’ve been full of myself, my expectations about life and ministry, and I had a timetable for how long I’d be in this valley. During this time, I’ve run the range of emotions and I’ve tried to find my own way out. I told God I had learned the lessons, he had for me and that I’m ready for the mountain top view again. (Hint, don’t tell God anything, instead, shut up and listen and learn!)
Second, When in the valley, spend more time worshiping, serving and learning. The lessons come in ways you never would expect. There is no online course you can buy to walk you through. Every journey is different because your Creator knows the classes you need to take. My advice, embrace and engage each day and learn all you can.
Third, when in the valley, it’s OK to not like it. I have struggled with more emotions, disappointments and even depression during this time. It’s been hard. I’ve talked with others who are going through valley experiences and they get it. It’s not made any easier as good intending friends, tell you, “hang in there!” “God is never late” “your time is coming!” While I know they mean well, it doesn’t change the fact, valleys take you to places where you are at your lowest.
I know that everything God promises about suffering, perseverance, and valley lessons are totally true. How do I say that, because I’ve spent the last six months in a valley. I have been pushed/led into doing things that have been way out of my comfort zone. I have seen paths that I thought might lead out of this valley, only become dead ends and yet, the experience of walking those paths have taught me, I need to let the Spirit guide me, and stop depending on what I think I know about walking in the valley.
I have learned that my flesh still wages war against my spirit and if I don’t yield to the spirit, I’ll sink lower in the valley rather than move forward to where he desires me to be.
Ephesians 3:16-19, Paul prays, “I pray that our of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”
Consider those words again, I’ve italicized words that jump at me. My inner being needs these valley times to refocus on where my power to live and serve come from. I cannot live and serve without having God’s power dwelling in me and this knowledge of how wide,long, high, and deep his love is for me can only come when I give up myself for his fullness. The times this comes clear is in the valley.
If you’re going through a valley time, I pray the words of Paul over you. I hope you will pray them over yourself. Let it be your desire to be rooted and established in God’s love while walking through the valley so that when he leads you out and moves you to a new path you will look back and remember. This valley time was a time to build into your life. It will remind you of how loved and valued you are, and how when you give up your pride, expectations and timetables. Keep walking, breathing and hold onto the the hope that you know and believe in your heart.
I hope someone finds this encouraging and helpful, if not, I know it was good for me to just sit down and write. It reminds me of who I am and that my day is coming soon for something new. When the Father believes I’m ready, He will lead me forward.
Share with me what have you learned in the “valley” times?