Life is filled with valleys and hills; different seasons.
Interesting how many definitions there are of the word valley. A “time in the valley” is most often taken to mean a dark or troubled or a fearful experience. Yet in geographical terms we often think of a valley as a place of peace, lush green grass and fertile soil with a river meandering past well-kept homes and farms. The Oxford Canadian Dictionary’s definition of valley is “the extensive tract of land drained by a single large river system or any depression or hollow resembling this” such as “an internal angle formed by the junction of two sloping sides of a roof”. A version of the word is vale which is sometimes used in place names such as the Vale of Glamorgan. It has also been used “poetically in regard to a scene of trouble or sorrow” (The New Oxford American Dictionary). Many valleys are mentioned in the Bible and five distinct Hebrew words describe valley in slightly different ways.
Then there are desert places; dry, barren, lonely places. Jesus spent forty days in a desert fasting and then in his weakened physical state was tested by the devil. Sometimes we find ourselves in such places as did Job. He lost everything. He too was tested in a “desert” place in his weakened stat of grief.
Thankfully there are mountain top experiences in our lives. Those times are awe-inspiring; a time of joy, peace, excitement. Moses enjoyed an amazing time with God on Mount Sinai. Peter, James, and John witnessed the transfiguration of Jesus on a mountain top.
As many people, I have wept in dark valleys, wandered in deserts, and been refreshed on the mountain tops. It hasn’t been an easy simple route from one point to another. There have been unexpected turns, detours, and delays. Sometimes I’ve headed into areas I should not have ventured into and sometimes God has let me go down an unpleasant road to test me or teach me. And now, I can’t even remember my original plan or destination. But it doesn’t matter; I know Jesus has been beside me all the way as He promised. I’m just doing my best to keep in step with Him as we walk this path before us.