Today, God is leading us to a battle to teach us a lesson. It’s a lesson we need. A lesson that will help us see our struggles from a different perspective. A lesson that will help us appreciate where we are, even when it’s not where we wanted to be.

The battle is between the Israelites and the Arameans. Now before you think this battle from 870 years before Jesus is completely irrelevant to your life today, I assure you, this fits perfectly. So perfectly, you’re about to be blown away. Prepare yourself.

We find the battle in 1 Kings chapter 20. This was a conflict that had been going on for quite some time. The Israelites would attack, then the Arameans would attack. Each army would retreat and regroup, then the battle would start all over again. Now, we’re picking up after several head on collisions between these two armies. 1 Kings 20: 22-28, “Afterward, the prophet came to the king of Israel and said, “Strengthen your position and see what must be done, because next spring the king of Aram will attack you again.”

Meanwhile, the officials of the king of Aram advised him, “Their gods are gods of the hills. That is why they were too strong for us. But if we fight them on the plains, surely we will be stronger than them. Do this: Remove all the kings from their commands and replace them with other officers. You must also raise an army like the one you lost—horse for horse and chariot for chariot—so we can fight Israel on the plains. Then surely we will be stronger than them.” He agreed with them and acted accordingly.

The next spring Ben-Hadad mustered the Arameans and went up to Aphek to fight against Israel. When the Israelites were also mustered and given provisions, they marched out to meet them. The Israelites camped opposite them like two small flocks of goats, while the Arameans covered the countryside.

The man of God came up and told the king of Israel, “This is what the Lord says: ‘Because the Arameans think the Lord is a god of the hills and not a god of the valleys, I will deliver this vast army into your hands, and you will know that I am the Lord.’”

So, the battle begins, and there in the valley, where the Arameans thought the Israelites were only protected by their God on the mountains, the Israelites destroyed the Arameans. How? Because our God is the God of the mountains and the God of the valleys.

He is your God in the ups and in the downs. When it’s going right and when it’s going wrong. When you like it and when you don’t.

Why is it you think God is only guiding you and blessing you when you’re on top of the mountain? Why would you assume God’s good plans for you are only mountain top experiences? Oh, what a mistake it is to assume God is only God on top of the mountain. The Lord is God in the valley as well.

He is still God when you’re down. He is still God when you lose your job. He is still God when you’re sick. He’s still God when you’re grieving. He’s still God when things are hard.

This is your valley, and Sis, God will fight for you in this valley! He will bring you victory in this valley. Praise him in this valley!

We can’t just praise him on the mountain. We can’t just be happy when we’ve overcome our struggles. Why would you ever withhold your joy for after the hard climb is over? God doesn’t just wait for you at the top, he sits with you at the bottom. He provides for you in the valley.

What a terrible mistake it is to assume, like the Arameans, that our Lord is a god of the hills and not a god of the valleys. Don’t miss the fact that God will fight the greatest battles for you in the valley. He will defeat your enemies when you are down low. He will then raise you up. But how can God raise you up if you’re not willing to surrender when you’re low?

Psalm 121: 1-2, “I lift up my eyes to the mountains— where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” Gosh, I love this scripture. It just makes my soul feel warm and fuzzy. But do you realize there’s only one place where you can be standing and life your eyes up to see the mountains … you’re in the valley. In the valley is where you look up and see where your help comes from.

If you’re in the valley … if you’re in this place where you feel stuck, overwhelmed, discouraged, or unhappy, God wants you to understand this is not a forsaken place where you are left to figure this out on your own. You’re not here to just struggle and suffer. Misery is an option in this valley, but it’s not what God desires for you. You’re here for a purpose. Your valley is for a purpose. I know you’re longing for those mountaintop moments again, and they will come, but God is doing something here in your valley.

I love hiking. I love the adventure of packing a PB&J in a backpack and savoring it on top of a mountain. I love climbing to see the view. I’ve climbed my share of mountains, and there’s one thing I’ve found as you’re nearing the top, fewer and fewer things grow up there. The higher you go, the less grows. If you climb a real mountain, one of those 14’ers, you’ll find absolutely nothing at the top. Just rocks and snow. No trees, no grass, no berries, nothing. It’s stark, it’s bare, and they say it’s really lonely at the top.

As much as we love the highs in life when we’re on top, having achieved great things, the truth is, we don’t grow up there. So, God, in his most loving and caring way, never leaves us on top for long. He brings us back down. Sometimes all the way down. Down to the valley. Down to our lowest low. Down where we didn’t want to go. But where we need to go. Why? Because abundant growth happens in the valley!

God isn’t just God when things are going good in your life. God is still the same God when things seem to be going wrong. He is God of the hills and God of the valley. We should praise him the same.

I have a beautiful friend who was pregnant with her 5th baby, and at full term, this perfect baby girl died within her womb. Their family went from preparing all things pink in the house for her grand entrance, to planning a funeral. It was the drastic descent from their mountain top to a valley they never wanted. But in the months since, God has done countless miraculous sweet miracles in and through this family. And no doubt, he’s not done yet. New things have grown in this valley. Lives have changed in this valley. God’s help has been so tangibly present in this low. And new mountaintops have been whispered.

Billy Graham said it like this, “Mountaintops are for views and inspiration, but fruit is grown in the valleys.”

You aren’t just blessed when you’re up, you’re blessed when you’re down. You’re growing when you’re down. Things are changing when you’re down. New things are happening when you’re down. And when you’re down, it’s easy to see where your help comes from, just look up. I lift my eyes up to the mountains – where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. I see him more clearly in these valleys. I become more like who he has created me to be in these valleys. I’m strengthened for my next climb here in these valleys.

Oh God will take you back to the top again. He has so many beautiful mountain top experiences for you. But he loves you too much to just leave you up there. His love is so strong, he will bring you back to the valley where you grow to know him more. Back to the valley where he whispers new dreams into your soul, and promises to lead you on the journey there.

If you’re currently on top of the mountain, oh Sis, enjoy the view. Savor it. Soak it all in. This won’t last forever.

If you’re on the hard climb up, don’t stop. God has so much more to show you. Keep climbing.

If you’re in a low valley, receive your growth here. You’re being renewed here. New things are growing in you here. And you’re being prepared for new places next.

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