When you became a Christian, did someone tell you that if you just followed Jesus that everything would get better? I hope not. Because if they did, you were lied to.
Once again, I find myself in a valley. Until yesterday morning, I probably would have told you that I anticipate living in this particular valley for the duration of my foreseeable future. After some wise counsel from a trusted friend, I can now confidently say that I have hope that I will make it through the valley because God is with me. But that doesn’t mean I’m not still very much in the valley.
I grew up in a valley. My family actually had riverfront property in a very wide valley between some very tall mountains. Recently, my attention was drawn to a dictionary definition of a valley. Did you know that the dictionary specifies that a valley often has a river or stream running through it? It seems the valley I grew up in was a textbook definition.
You see, rivers and streams are not idle. They are moving bodies of water. There is a current that flows through them. The river I grew up on shaped the land surrounding it. Often, our neighbors who had boats docked in the river would have to build up their riverbanks because the running water would erode the surface and push back the bank, thus leaving their boat docks more like an island in the water than a dock connected to the shore.
In my current valley, I am much like those boats. I’ve become “docked” to some pretty consuming thoughts that I can’t seem to shake. Instead of being like the shoreline, allowing the running water to shape me, I have become firmly anchored to a dock that no longer has a connection to the safety of land.
I have two choices.
- Stay here and never fulfill my purpose because I’m useless like a ship that never sails.
- Or, cut the rope that ties me to this dock and let the stream of the current take me downriver to a different dock that’s safely and properly connected to land.
The latter choice is not an easy one, but it’s a beneficial one. I’m still not sure I want to make that choice, but I think I must make the choice anyway.
What Does This Have to do with Being a Christian?
Interestingly, there are many references to water in Scripture. Let’s observe a few:
Psalm 46 – The infamous “Be still and know that I am God” passage comes in verse 10. But notice the references to water throughout the psalm and God’s promise to be our refuge and our strength.
Psalm 124 – See this psalm where Israel praises the Lord for not overtaking them by streams of water. . . “Had it not been the Lord who was on our side . . .”
Isaiah 43:1-3 – The Lord will not allow the waters to overtake you.
Jesus as the Living Water
Now it gets really good. In John 4, Jesus tells the woman at Samaria that whoever drinks the water that He gives will have eternal life. (v.14) Furthermore, in John 7:38, Jesus says that those who believe in Him will have “rivers of living water” flow from their innermost being.
This means, if I am His, and I am, I have this living water flowing from me. I am to share this eternal life with others. How can I do that if I’m bound to a dock that’s connected to nothing?
Cutting the Rope
All of this is wonderfully encouraging news and most of this is stuff I already knew. Yet, I still find myself in this deep valley. And, regardless of all the amazing truth I have just discovered through studying for this post, I am still dreadfully stuck in this valley. The water is right there, rushing all around me, but I can’t muster up the guts to cut the rope and trust the living water to shape me and mold me like the shoreline.
It comes down to this very brutally honest truth – I simply don’t yet trust the One who controls the water enough to allow Him to mold and shape me. I know it’s going to be painful. I know at times the current will be rough. And I’m simply not ready to let go of my false safety zone I have created in my vain imaginations. But I must if I want to glorify the Lord in all I do, rather than only in certain areas.
I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating so that I can “hear” myself say it again – every decision – EVERY DECISION – comes down to one question – “Do I (or you) trust God or don’t I (or you)?” This one is a hard one for me, friends. I’m not able to let go yet. But I want to be ready and willing to obey. My honest heart’s desire is to please the Lord. I want to obey. Praise Him that He even provides the faith to trust Him!
So, I’m ending this article a little differently than normal. I want to petition you for your prayers. I promise to be faithful to allow the Lord to continue to work in my heart if you’ll promise to intercede for me in the meantime. Thank you for your faithfulness!
A note to those of you in a valley of your own | I have found that singing praises to the Lord as I walk through my own valley helps immensely. The most recent song I’ve been singing to Him is the one in this video. Maybe it will bless you as much as it has blessed me.