the view from the valley

“Do you see what I see? Said the night wind to the little lamb” in the song usually sung at Christmas time. I’m guessing the wind had an advantage over the lamb in that the wind had a better, wider, higher, larger view of things than did the little lamb who couldn’t leave the ground and could only see what was near him. His view was probably blocked by any trees or boulders or even small hills that surrounded him. And if he were in a cave or a thicket for shelter, the little lamb’s view wouldn’t take in very much at all. The wind on the other hand, being untethered from the ground, was free to soar far and wide, rising to great heights from which to survey many things.

I envy the wind’s wider, higher view of things. Reminds me of those rare mountain top moments, those fleeting, glorious glimpses from the summit, full of clarity and wonder, visions of things not seen from lesser heights and darker pathways. Memories of the mountain top view fade as I walk the valley, hemmed in on all sides, limiting my view and my vision of my true circumstances. I can’t see what’s around the next bend or over the next hill. I don’t have the big picture, I only see what’s right in front of me. I trust that the One I am following knows the way and sees those things that I cannot see. My Heavenly Father says this,

“I am God, and there is none like Me. I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.” (Isaiah 46:9-10)

That should reassure me. God sees what I don’t see with my limited earthly vision. Situations often look pretty desperate to me. I don’t see a way out. I don’t see any hope for resolution or restoration, any hope that good will win out over evil. I feel overwhelmed by circumstances based on what I can see. But I need to remember that my vision is limited. My view is only a partial view of the total picture. There are things I can’t or don’t see. I am reminded of the story of Elisha’s servant in 2 Kings.

“When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. ‘Oh, my lord, what shall we do?’ the servant asked. ‘Don’t be afraid,’ the prophet answered. ‘Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.’ And Elisha prayed, ‘O Lord, open his eyes so he may see.’ The the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.” (2 Kings 6:15-17)

God’s protection and provision had been there surrounding them all along, the servant just hadn’t been able to see it. And because he couldn’t see it with his eyes (prior to Elisha’s prayer) he didn’t realize or trust that it was there. The battle was won, but based on what the servant saw with his natural eyes, he would not have believed this to be true. I am like the servant in this story. Based on my limited vision, I become filled with fear and I forget that I am to walk by faith and not by sight.

“We live by faith, not by sight.” (2 Corinthians 5:7)

That’s good advice, since my view from life’s valleys is so limited. But my Heavenly Father’s sight is unlimited and perfect. I can trust Him to lead me safely through dark times and over treacherous terrain.

“Where then does wisdom come from? Where does understanding dwell? It is hidden from the eyes of every living thing, concealed even from the birds of the air. . . . God understands the way to it and He alone knows where it dwells, for He views the ends of the earth and sees everything under the heavens.” (Job 28:20-24)

“The eyes of the Lord are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good.” (Proverbs 15:3)

“From heaven the Lord looks down and sees all mankind; from His dwelling place He watches all who live on earth -” (Psalm 33:13-14)

My Heavenly Father sees it all, the pitfalls and the perils that surround me or lie ahead – but He sees beyond all that to the place that He is leading me – that place of promise, just like He asked Abraham to follow Him to “the land I will show you.” Abraham didn’t know the way, but God did. God knows the end from the beginning. I am stuck in the middle, so I will trust His vision rather than my own to lead me out of the valley and onto the mountain top. I will remember His promises.

“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.” (Psalm 23:4-5)

Protection and provision in the presence of my enemies! That’s quite a promise! David experienced this and you and I can, too. God sees me. He has not lost track of me, even if I am lost in the valley or fallen into a pit. I can say like Job did about God –

“But He (God) knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I will come forth as gold.” (Job 23:10)

My view from the valley is so limited that if I rely solely on what I can see, I will be filled with fear and lose hope. I will give up. But like the servant of Elisha, I want to remember that “those who are with me are more than those who are with the enemy of my soul.” I want to remember –

“This is what the Lord says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s.’ ” (2 Chronicles 20:15)

There are things I do not see, but God sees all and I follow Him by faith, relying on His perfect vision for my life and for the world He created. God never misses a beat. Not even the falling of a sparrow. Nothing gets by Him because He’s on watch twenty-four/seven. And sometimes, if I look up from my valley, I am granted that mountain top vista of God’s glory and the protection and provision He is providing daily for me – for those who are with me are more than those who are against me. I see that the tribulations of these times will not prevail, when God grants a glimpse of all He is doing in the heavenly realms. I just have to look up.

“I lift up my eyes to the hills – where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let my foot slip – He who watches over me will not slumber; indeed, He who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord watches over you – the Lord is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord will keep you from all harm – He will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.” (Psalm 121:3-8)

“Now we see through a glass darkly, but then we shall see face to face.” (1 Corinthians 13:12)

in the meantime, I walk by faith –

sincerely, Grace Day

2 thoughts on “the view from the valley

  1. We walk by faith. Even with our eye sight, we cannot totally trust ou
    r senses. I read a book written by a priest in the 1600s. Called abandonment into divine providence. He mentions that true faith is when we no longer rely on our senses but truly walk By faith.

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  2. What a devotional that assures my tired and often discouraged soul. We are all in the middle and that is never a comfortable place … having come through a lot, we still have a lot to go through and that alone feels daunting at times. “But God” … I bow in repentance over how often I walk by sight instead of faith in the One who sees all, knows all and holds all in His good & perfect will. My faith is in Him and His Word … thank you for helping me to look up this morning, dear friend … I see. ❤️🙌

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