What do you think about when you see the word valley? Do you think of a sparkling stream running through green meadows of wildflowers with sheep grazing contentedly in the sun? Or do you think of a place of suffering that is hopefully temporary in your life?
Both are true. The first is what I think of when I remember hiking up a long valley in the Highlands of Scotland to get to the Fairy Pools. The stream comes directly from the mountain, crystal clear and forms pools at different places according to the rock formations it passes through. It is a favorite among visitors to Scotland, as well as mine. It is a long hike to the pools, and they go on up the valley as far as the eye can see. Many, in the summer, are there to take a dip in the pools and enjoy the sunshine. There are often sheep grazing nearby. My favorites are the black-faced sheep, but they all are wonderful.
There are other valleys we encounter. Some of them, not as lovely as the one above. It may be an illness that puts you in the valley while the doctors diagnose or treat it. It may be tension in your family. Or it could just be at this time of year the reality of spending the holidays without your family. But God is with you in the valleys, regardless of their cause or duration.
I love this Puritan prayer.
“Thou hast brought me to the valley of vision, where I live in the depths but see thee in the heights; hemmed in by the mountains of sin I behold thy glory.” (1)
Yes, Jesus has brought you into this valley for a purpose. “To bear the cross is to wear the crown, … the valley is a place of vision.” (2)
While I love the image of the Fairy Pools, it is not where I always live. But I can learn from the valleys and see what treasure the Lord has for me in them. Our Lord never wastes a trial He gives us. There is always treasure to be found. Whether it is the beauty of the Fairy Pools to remember in difficult days. Or it is the power of His presence and revelation as we submit to bearing a cross that He has asked us to take up for a short or long time period.
I recently became aware of a wonderful website called Grace in the Valley. It uplifts and testifies to the work of the Lord. When you explore the site, you’ll find many blogs from women who are triumphantly walking through valleys of chronic illness and what the Lord has shown them. They asked me to write my journey through the valleys and am offering you this site to explore for yourselves. I think you’ll find it rewarding, profoundly spiritual, and worth spending some time there. You may not be walking through a valley, but you probably know someone who is.
You can find it at: https://graceinthevalley.org
You can find my story at: https://graceinthevalley.org/blog/
Click on the title of the blog or the date to read it. But don’t miss the other stories as well. You will be blessed! There is always much for which to be thankful.
“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”
2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV
- Valley of Vision xxiv
- Valley of Vision pg. xxiv