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Monday, February 13, 2017

Flourish in Your Valley

I remember the moment many years ago when I heard a minister instruct a congregation that “God is not in your valley. He is just in your victory”. God is not only in my victory! He is also most definitely in my valley! If the Lord had not been with me in each valley I would have never survived to live in victory. The valley is our opportunity and to grow spiritually stronger through the grace of Jesus Christ. The valley reveals how much of His strength we have and whether we shall fail or make it. We do not know of what we are made until we are tested. It is in the valley where we discover who we really are and who He really is. It is in the valley that spiritual maturity has the potential to flourish.

In the midst of a trial we become weary and anxious when we don’t know what is next. “Do not be anxious about anything,” Paul wrote, “but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (Philippians 4:6:7, NIV). We are to pray with thanksgiving in our heart—choosing and then allowing God to be in control. No matter what our human mind perceives or analyzes we are to believe in His promise and omnipotent ability to handle what we are incapable of handling on our own. We are not to worry about anything because we are instructed to petition the Lord who not only created every molecule in this world, but also controls each one. Is He not also able to handle any problem? Thanking the Lord for His provision reveals trust in His promise and faith in His character. Thanking God brings His peace. The promise is clear. “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7, NIV).

“You have made this too simple,” perhaps you insist. “It is not that simple.” But His direction is simple. God did not make His promise difficult. We make the valley difficult by not applying His direction in the midst of the struggle. We miss the peace of God because we try to humanly analyze each struggle instead of leaning on God to lift us above the trial or to carry us through it. Your mind can only be guarded from fear of the unknown when you praise and thank God for His faithfulness—when your thoughts dwell upon His infinite grace instead of worrying and creating potential scenarios. God knows what His accomplishing scene will be. Trust Him for it, and spiritually “analyze” His loving promise instead of humanly expanding your problem.

Be willing to endure the earthly trial for the spiritual lesson God wishes to impart. He may lift the trial or He may let it remain, but it is His decision. Seek the Lord each day and discover your burden is much lighter when you focus on the Lord instead of what is going on in your life. You will discover His supernatural peace when you give your trial to Him through prayerful petition. It is a peace that nothing in this world can offer (John 14:27), and it can only be found through the struggles of life. It is a gift from the Savior to lighten your load (Matthew 11:30).

The night before His crucifixion Jesus reminded His disciples of all the things He had instructed them “so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33, NIV). Christ has overcome every problem that exists. You don't just “survive” in the valley. You “flourish” because Christ has poured living water into what might have otherwise been a desert. You have allowed Him to turn your valley into His victory.

(Copyright 2017 Lynn Hampton Lacher)

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