“God invites us into the valley. The question is whether we will accept the invitation. The valley will always be in the shadow of the mountains. The mountains, with their dramatic peaks and pillars to the clouds, will always appear more special to the world around you. Becoming a valley is truly humbling. And yet this is the place where the rain soaks deep and fruit is truly produced. The valley is the place of life. It is the place of kingdom power.”
I’ve been thinking about valleys ever since reading the words above. Last year I read Formed for the Glory of God by Kyle Strobel and loved it. When I saw Strobel had coauthored this book, The Way of the Dragon or the Way of the Lamb, I was eager to check it out.
So often my first thought when I think of a biblical valley, is a season of pain or suffering. Psalm 23 comes to mind immediately.
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” (vs 4)
But the quote above shows us how valleys are also those places of obscurity, places that often get overlooked or unrecognized because they don’t so easily come into view and/or capture attention like a mountain. The valley will always be in the shadow of the mountains.
And then I had this thought: Sometimes obscurity is a form of pain, suffering…death, especially if someone has no desire to be there. Humility will often find itself in a wresting match with Pride. Pride tells us we need the mountaintop acclamations and attaboys while humility and obscurity remind us there is more to living than gold medals atop a mountain.
There’s this tension, this battle that goes on inside us humans. We often desire or strive for the mountain life over the valley life. The valley of obscurity often seems far less glamorous and far less appealing to us than the majestic peaks. And yet, nourishment, those things that offer us life…and life to the fullest…is discovered in the shadow of the mountains.
“God invites us into the valley. The question is whether we will accept the invitation. The valley will always be in the shadow of the mountains.”