A few months ago, my friend Shanna and I had a written conversation about the value of the valley. You know the valley. It is any experience in life that brings you way down–down to the bottom of your reserves, down to your most desperate thoughts, so far down you can’t see a way out. Since we talked about it, it has been even more on my mind.
I’m in the valley right now. It doesn’t mean I’m always only one thought away from crying or that simple tasks overwhelm me, but sometimes it does. Because really, this is sort of awful. Lyme is a horrible disease and there are a million other things Brad and I would rather be doing with our lives than fighting it. To get myself up, out, and through the valley, I talk truth to myself. And the truth is I don’t have to be afraid of the valley. This is where God meets us. This is where He carries us and when we have our sweetest times with Him. It really doesn’t feel like it now, but whenever I look back on the blackest times these last few years, they seem covered over with God’s love and grace to take me out of them. He leads me beside still waters. I know this is what’s happening right now, even though the whole process hurts, hurts, hurts.
Another friend recently sent me this 17th-century Puritan prayer:
Let me learn by paradox that the way down is the way up, that to be low is to be high, that the broken heart is the healed heart, that the contrite spirit is the rejoicing spirit, that the repenting soul is the victorious soul, that to have nothing is to possess all, that to bear the cross is to bear the crown, that to give is to receive, that at the valley is the place of vision.
The valley is the place of vision.