You think just because you’re going through a valley, a low time, a hard time, that you’re under attack. Oh but Sis, what if this isn’t an attack at all? What if this valley has been designed by God for a greater purpose. A purpose you do not currently see, but you will.
We all like mountaintop moments. We like standing high atop what we have just overcome and knowing we made it. Oh, the exhilaration of being on top of it all. We have one mountaintop experience, and that’s all we want. We rebuke any hint of coming down off the mountain. No Lord, I don’t want to go through a valley again. Leave me up here. I just want to stay up, don’t bring me down.
But, have you ever been on top of a real mountain? I’ve climbed for hours to get to the top of a mountain in Colorado. I did the hardest climb of my life at our Utah Retreat to stand above the clouds. We all cried because we made it! These are experiences I will never forget. But you know what I noticed on top of the mountain … nothing grows. There are no trees at the top. And that got me to thinking, if there are no trees, there is no fruit.
Hmmmmm, no fruit on the mountaintops.
All we want are mountaintop moments, but all God wants of our lives is to produce fruit. And my friend, God started showing me, the two really don’t go well together.
You know what does go well together? Valleys and fruit.
Valleys. These are the low times of life where the shadows of the mountains overwhelm you. You struggle in the valley. It’s in the valley that you work harder than you think you should have to work, for a result that doesn’t measure up to the effort it required. But things grow in the valley. Trees produce fruit in the valley. And my sister, it is here in the lows of life that you grow best. It is here where you want nothing more than to get out of the valley and stand atop those mountains, that God allows your life to produce fruit.
Jesus said in John 15:8 “When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.”
And if you only produce fruit in the valleys of life, then guess what … God gets the most glory when you’re going through your greatest struggles. You grow through the low times.
Now, maybe you are under attack. Maybe the forces of Hell really have come up against you and are fighting over where you have the potential of going next and what you have a great calling to do. That’s real. But maybe, just maybe this low time in your life isn’t an attack, maybe it’s a valley where you will grow.
Life is full of ups and downs. It’s literally like a roller coaster ride. You’re climbing and climbing. Click, click, click, click, click and then that glorious moment where you’ve arrived. You’re here! Yessssssss!!!!!!!! But girl, you know what comes next. The drop. Always. We would like one perpetual high life of good times and great views, but God in his great design knows you gotta come down again so you grow more.
Nothing grows on the mountaintop. You aren’t growing to your greatest potential when everything is easy. And in case you haven’t figured it out yet, God is far more concerned with your character than your comfort. So ease goes right out the window, and the mountaintop isn’t your home forever. Back down in the valley you go.
Not as punishment. Not because you’re not good enough. Not because God’s good plans for you were limited and you’ve maxed out on your allotment of goodness. No, exactly the opposite … because God has so much more for you, so he brings you back down to grow more into that potential!
Now, I know, I know, I know, you’re not going to like it. Heck, I can’t even get myself to like it. But you know it’s the truth. Your times of greatest growth were always during your valley walks. When you were really going through it, is when you realized the strength only God could give you to keep going. When you literally depended on God for your daily bread, and when that day’s bread showed up, you thanked God for his provision like never before.
I still will never, ever forget in our deepest, darkest, hardest valley of financial hardship, the Chic-fil-A sandwich coupon that was given to me by a stranger at an intersection. A coupon for a legit free chicken sandwich. It didn’t require you to buy a drink or fries first, it was just a free sandwich, no purchase required. And that was a good thing, because I didn’t have a single dollar to spend. My little boy and I sat at a table with one chicken sandwich, each taking turns with our bite. He would take a bite, and I would take a bite. One sandwich, and bite after bite, there was somehow still more. We both ate until we were full, and there was still a bite leftover. I’m sure I’ve eaten a hundred chicken sandwiches since then, but nearly 20 years later, I still remember that one because we were in the valley and in that valley I grew the fruits of joy, peace and faithfulness.
I can now afford to buy all the chicken sandwiches I want. I could buy everyone in the restaurant a chicken sandwich. It’s like a little mountaintop moment, but I still carry the joy, peace and faithfulness that was grown in that valley. Chic-fil-A will never, ever be the same for me.
Oh my Sister, are you in a valley? Are you longing for that mountaintop again? You’ll get there, but my guess is you’re going to need some fruit first! Fruit that doesn’t grow in the high times of life. Fruit that only grows in the low times. Fruit that reveals what God is growing within you.
Listen to me. You need to hear this. This valley you’re going through is worth the fruit you will come out of it with!
Here in the valley where you walk, where you work, and where you wonder if you’ll ever get past it, you’re learning to produce the fruit God always wanted you to grow in.
What are these fruits? They’re listed in Galatians 5: 22-23 “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.”
Now let’s read that scripture in the MSG translation: “What happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.”
Of course it’s easy to think we would grow in love, joy and peace in the mountaintop moments. We think we would stick with things better on a mountaintop high. We think we would see God’s holiness in everything when we’re up out of this valley. But truthfully, that stuff only grows in the valley, then you get to take it with you to the mountaintop. I wonder what this valley is producing in your life, then I wonder where God will invite you to take that fruit once it’s grown to it’s fullest potential in you?
So, to the one who tumbled down the mountain and finds herself in a low valley, know that this valley is here to grow you. It will grow you in ways you’ve never experienced before and allow you to climb your next mountains with fruit to sustain your journey.
This is God’s rhythm of life. Up and down. Down and up. Grow then go. Go, then come back to grow some more.
You’re in a dang valley again. Don’t fret because here’s how I see it … Dang girl, you’re in a valley. That must mean something is about to grow in your life, then you’re going to take that fruit to some mountaintops! Yaaaa-yahhhhh!