My last blog post was about mountaintop experiences and the amazing perspective those God made wonders provide. What goes up must eventually come down, and so this week I write about the View from the Valley. While we were in California, we drove through three different valleys, each one picturesque and unique. Quite often my life experiences are similar to what I observed in the valleys while we enjoyed our sightseeing tour.
The Antelope Valley is located on the tip of the Mojave Desert. The antelopes that once inhabited this area of California have long since escaped the encroaching civilization and moved on. The land is dry and parched in the summer months with almost no precipitation and, depending on the winter rainfall, home to an array of poppies in the late spring. The distant San Gabriel and Tehachapi Mountains ring the valley.
Sometimes I can feel I am in a dry, parched land and that better days will never come. Like the Antelope Valley, my mountain tops are far in the distance and seem inaccessible. I long for relief from my life circumstances and wish for the cool refreshing rain of hope to wash over me. These times are really great opportunities for self-examination. I take comfort and encouragement from the Bible during my valley days. I am reminded of the verse from Psalms 42. “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God…” and I feel refreshed.
Out next Valley experience was in the San Joaquin Valley. This area of California has been called “The food basket of the world.” Crops of every description grow on the flat land for miles in the distance. Table grapes, raisins, almonds and walnuts predominate as far as my eye can see. A saying on one billboard caught my eye—“Food grows where water flows.”
Like these abundant crops, my life grows and flourishes when I allow myself to be nourished. I am reminded of one verse Jesus spoke when He gave what we call The Beatitudes. “Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.” Matthew 5:6 …and I feel restored.
Our final stop was in the Yosemite Valley. The only way to appreciate the beauty of the Yosemite Valley is to look up. Look up at the giant Sequoias; look up at El Capitan and Half Dome and the cathedral spires surrounding the Valley. After being in the parched valley, and the fruitful valley, I long to look up and soak in the magnificent beauty. “I will lift my eyes to the hills …My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.” Psalms 121 1-2 …and I feel renewed.
Mountaintop and valley experiences are a part of all our lives, but all are useful in helping us become the persons God wants us to be.