Valleys

Life isn’t easy. There are “ups” and there are “downs,” and sometimes it just seems like the “downs” never end. It’s like taking one step forward and then falling into a pit. I’ve heard that pit described as a “valley.”

When I was a kid my mother and stepfather would take us to Las Vegas on several occasions and we would drive through Death Valley. This valley was barren—nothing but endless miles of sand. It was such a big valley that I never saw the mountains that surrounded it.

Every now and then our “downs” feel like we are walking through Death Valley—we feel alone, there’s nothing good that we see, and sometimes it just feels scary. It makes me wonder why God would allow us to experience that.

Exodus 13:17-18 says, “When Pharaoh finally let the people go, God did not lead them along the main road that runs through Philistine territory, even though that was the shortest route to the Promised Land…God led them in a roundabout way through the wilderness…” (NLT).

The wilderness that the Israelites went through was very much like Death Valley—they had no water or food because the land was barren. They had to rely on God to give them food and water:

“They traveled in this desert for three days without finding any water. When they came to the oasis of Marah, the water was too bitter to drink… “What are we going to drink?” they demanded. So Moses cried out to the Lord for help, and the Lord showed him a piece of wood. Moses threw it into the water, and this made the water good to drink…

… the whole community of Israel complained…“you have brought us into this wilderness to starve us all to death.”…Then the Lord said to Moses, “I have heard the Israelites’ complaints. Now tell them, ‘In the evening you will have meat to eat, and in the morning you will have all the bread you want. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God’” (Exo. 15:22-25; 16:2-3, 11-12).

I thought about two things:

  1. God allows us to experience “valleys” in our life because He wants us to rely on Him more– He will take care of us.
  2. God wants us to know that even though we may feel alone while in the “valley,” He is with us and He will help us get through it.

Copyright © 2014 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

I struggle

I thought about an incident that happened when I was a student at Southern Seminary. I was in a “Formations” class—a course where you learn how to pray more, read the Bible more, etc. This particular class was for female students only. I wanted that because I thought it would give us an opportunity to really discuss some of our struggles.

Around the second day we were asked about our personal devotional life. No one said anything, so I thought I would share that I really struggled to find time to read the Bible and to pray consistently. Instead of people saying how they also struggled, people just looked at me. After a few seconds of silence, I said, “I guess I’m the only one that struggles with that.”

Then a woman, who had two small children, said, “I have a two hour personal worship time every night after I put the kids to sleep.” Wow! Really? Personal worship every night for two hours with small children? Are you kidding me?

So out of the class of 20-25 students, I was the only one that struggled. I found that hard to believe.

I’m not sure why people pretend that their lives are so perfect. We know that humans are not perfect so their lives wouldn’t be perfect either. If we never admit to one another that we struggle then how could we carry each other’s burdens (Galatians 6:2)?

The way I see it, if a person is not experiencing spiritual struggles then there’s no growth happening.

To me, it’s a lot like exercising the body. When a person is working out then there will be sore muscles, but the person who doesn’t work out will not have soreness.

In the same way, those who are trying to grow in their spiritual walk will experience struggles because the very act of spiritually growing results in struggles. In other words, there would be no need for Satan to attack or discourage someone if that person was not trying to grow closer to God.

Just as a foot needs the leg and the finger needs a hand, Christians need one another. Stop pretending to be perfect, and admit that you need help. We all need some form of accountability so that someone can encourage us to keep going.

In 1 Corinthians 12:24-27, it says,

“…God has put the body together such that extra honor and care are given to those parts that have less dignity. This makes for harmony among the members, so that all the members care for each other. If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad. All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it” (NLT).

Christianity isn’t a “one-man show.” It’s teamwork—we can’t do life alone, we need each other.

I struggle to read the Bible and pray consistently. How about you?

Copyright © 2013 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti