Into the Valley
Waiting on God is difficult. I’ve been waiting on God for answers to prayers for years now. And it has not been fun, let me tell you. But it has been worth it.
God has used this time of waiting on Him to shift my focus and teach me invaluable lessons and give me more of the only blessing that really makes this life worth anything: Himself.
Through all the tears, through all the heartache, through all the nagging thoughts of doubt and the biting, deadening depression, I’ve received greater and greater amounts of faith and a relationship with God that continues to deepen day by day. He’s never given up on me, even when I’ve given up on Him. My faith, that began as a mere child, seemed to stay on the same, nearly level ground for most of my life. God was always with me and I never needed to think too deeply on Him.
But there was part of me that recognized that my walk with God wasn’t as deep as I wanted it to be. So I prayed that He would deepen it. I wasn’t expecting Him to go silent. I wasn’t expecting to spend the next few years watching my friends and family receive blessing after blessing while my life remained stagnant (remains stagnant even now—I was just crying over some of these things yesterday). I wasn’t expecting to be led into a valley, left alone to wander aimlessly and wonder just where God is and why He doesn’t answer me when I call.
I didn’t realize as I wandered further into the valley that God never left my side, even though I couldn’t hear Him. I didn’t understand that God was leading me into the valley to show me that He is so much bigger and so much more than I had ever taken the time to really think about before. It’s like before I began my journey down I was standing at the top of the mountain looking across the valley and seeing the top of the other mountain, admiring it’s beauty but not really looking down to see the fullness of the mountain. But once I reached the bottom of the valley and looked up, I realized that there is so much more to that mountain—and the one I’d been standing on—than I had originally realized.
Ok, it’s not a perfect metaphor, but that’s how my journey has gone. I looked up from the bottom of the valley and began to realize that there is so much more to God than I had ever even imagined. I realized that I don’t spend enough time really trying to get to know God. I’ve taken Him for granted for so much of my life. I’ve approached Him because I wanted things from Him and not necessarily because I wanted to know Him.
And that is an utter and absolute tragedy because He is so much more than all I could ever want or need.
Once I reached the bottom of that valley, I looked up and saw that He led me to the bottom out of His great grace and love. I was brought low so I could look high and see Him in His might and power and love.
So, I’ve been on this journey ever since then, back up the mountain, so to speak. But this time it’s been a much slower journey and I’m exploring nooks and crannies that I never even noticed before.
I began to notice that things I always thought were true about the Bible and what it says just weren’t what I had thought they were. I began to see that there are certain things within the Bible that I had always just taken for granted and never really thought through their meaning and significance. I even began to question whether or not I was truly a Christian because I realized just how little faith I truly had.
I’m thankful to say that God is much more graceful to me than I am to myself and I know that I am His. I’m also thankful that He led me deep into that valley because I have seen the word and Him opening up to me in ways He never has before. And I am so very excited by it all. I’m learning new things about God and about the Bible and about this life and my role here on earth every day. And I want to share with the world the things I’m learning, just in case there might be someone else out there who is going through something similar.
One of the things that God has been hammering home to me recently is His Kingdom. It’s one of those things I’ve always just taken for granted and never thought too deeply about. But it’s one of those things that has become of utmost importance to me recently.
During my journey through the valley I have clung to Matthew 6:33: “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” This verse is probably familiar to you, especially if you’re like me and you have some anxiety problems. It’s from the Sermon on the Mount and it is how Jesus finished up telling the listening crowds not to worry about anything—such as clothing or food—because God knows you need those things and will provide. So in Matthew 6:33, He commands them to seek the kingdom of God first, assured that their needs would be provided for.
It stuck out to me especially because I am currently waiting on God to provide certain things for me. And here was Jesus saying to seek the kingdom of God first. Somehow, in my mind, this just translated to mean to seek God first. The whole “kingdom” thing wasn’t of much consequence to me. So, I did just that. I began to seek God more than I ever had previously.
And then, not too long ago I found myself reading through the New Testament and I found the word kingdom everywhere.
but he said to them, “I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns as well; for I was sent for this purpose.” (Luke 4:43)
and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” (Mark 1:15)
Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3)
When they had appointed a day for him, they came to him at his lodging in greater numbers. From morning till evening he expounded to them, testifying to the kingdom of God and trying to convince them about Jesus both from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets. (Acts 28:23)
Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, (Hebrews 12:28)
I, John, your brother and partner in the tribulation and the kingdom and the patient endurance that are in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos on account of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. (Revelation 1:9)
Those are just a few examples, but I think you get the point. How was it that I had been a Christian for so long and didn’t even realize that I couldn’t answer the question “What is the kingdom of God?”
I’m still learning. And I’m still not sure I can give an answer that fully satisfies myself, but I am seeking to know. I realize now that there is so much more to God than I ever dared to imagine and I look forward to getting to know Him. I am working to be more focused on the kingdom, praying for greater wisdom and insight and knowledge. This isn’t something that can be found, but must be revealed.
So I’m praying that God will reveal more to us—to me and to you, whoever you may be and whatever your walk with God may be like. It’s exciting to think that we can never reach the end of that journey. There will always be more and greater depths of God to discover. What a privilege it is to get to walk that path.
That’s what this blog is about. It’s about seeking God. It’s about learning to seek His kingdom. It’s about digging deeper and going further than I’ve ever gone before. It’s about learning to actually implement Colossians 3:1-2 and Matthew 6:20 in my life. And it’s about inviting you to come along on that journey with me.