The God of the Valley


I am certain that some of you who read this will have heard gospel singer Vestal Goodman sing the following lyrics with her signature voice. Songwriter Lynda Randle wrote these words:

Life is easy, when you’re up on the mountain
And you’ve got peace of mind, like you’ve never known
But things change, when you’re down in the valley
Dont lose faith, for your never alone
Chorus:
For the God on the mountain, is still God in the valley
When things go wrong, he’ll make them right
And the God of the good times, is still God in the bad times
The God of the day, is still God in the night
We talk of faith way up on the mountain
But talk comes easy, when life”s at its best
Now its down in the valleys, trials and temptations
That”s where your faith is really put to the test
Chorus:
For the God on the mountain, is still God in the valley,
When things go wrong, he’ll make them right
And the God of the good times, is still God in the bad times
The God of the day, is still God in the night
The God of the day, is still God in the night

Is your God still God in the valley? Is he God in the night? Is he God when you are in the ICU waiting room? Is he God when you are sitting in the section reserved for family at a funeral?

We are quick to give God credit when we get the news that our loved one is now cancer free, but we have no answer when our prayers are not answered and the cancer kills. I think that we Americans, who for the most part have lived pretty cushy lives, have a skewed view of who God is. Our theology of God is more like a story written by some dreamy fiction writer than the God of the Bible. Many of us have completely bought into the idea that God’s ideal for us believers is that we should be always healthy, prosperous, raise successful children and have perfectly healthy grand children. The problem with that idealistic thinking is the Bible. The Word of God tells a different story.

I wonder sometimes, have we read the book of Job, or about the life of Joseph, or the life and ministry of Paul, or John the Baptist, or the last section of Hebrews? There are dozens of passages that come to mind but I want to focus on a familiar passage in Romans 8.

18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now.23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. 27 And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. 28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”

There are some important truths we can learn from this passage. I doubt that you are much different from me in that I often read a familiar passage of Scripture such as this and take from it the meaning I am comfortable with, and fond of, and miss much of the meaning intended. So it is with this passage for sure!

The first thing we can know from this teaching is that even though things are pretty bad at times now, they will get better in the future. Verse 18 gives a huge contrast.

 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us

The contrast is present sufferings vs future glory. To the suffering those realities are light years apart. But, God, through the pen of the Apostle Paul is building hope in us. We have something great to look forward to. There will not always be cancer hospitals and funeral homes, God’s future for us is His glory revealed to us. But even knowing this we still have questions. Why Lord? There are answers.

The circumstances we experience in our lives on earth are by God’s design. Now before you have a stroke see what God has to say. If we keep reading we find this statement in verse 20.

for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of him who subjected it in hope

Because of God’s purposes not fully known to you and me He has caused the whole of creation to be subjected to futility. The text is very concise, the world we know with floods and tornadoes and blindness and cancer and war is not like it is “of its own will but by the will of him who subjected it…” You and I are focused on our present troubles (or blessings) but God is focused on his own glory. We are short-sighted but God is concerned not only with the present but with his future glory. What God has accomplished by the life and work of Jesus has made it so that we very frail and flawed people will be on display to demonstrate God’s glory, vs 18, 19, and 21. There is design and purpose to what God is doing.

Did you notice two words in verse 20, “in hope”? God subjected the creation (you and I and those we love included) “in hope”. We are not left to wring our hands and pace the floor asking “Why Lord”. No, we know why. God gives us hope! He gives us something to look forward to. The resurrection of Jesus makes it sure and certain that we too will live forever “on the mountain’ so to speak, but not yet.

We know that the whole creation has been groaning in travail together until now; 23 and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved.

Though our destiny is sure, we are not fully saved yet. Our salvation is a work in progress. Even as we hopefully mature spiritually, each day is one day closer to the redemption of our bodies when there is no death, no tears, no disappointments, and only the glory of God. “For we are saved in this hope”.

There is more in the text that builds our faith increases our hope if we will only trust our God.

We know that in everything God works for good with those who love him, who are called according to his purpose. vs 28

Everything Lord? “Everything” includes some very painful experiences, “everything” Lord? Yes, God says “in everything” he is working for “good”. We must trust God, we must believe that he is for us! He is for us, not against us. Even when the most unimaginable tragedy befalls us God is at work, for our good and his glory.

To demonstrate his loving-kindness God has made a way to help us through the valleys of our lives. This remarkable statement should bring us comfort and cause us to praise our God who loves us so.

26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words. 27 And he who searches the hearts of men knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

Isn’t this wonderful to know? When I am praying a selfish prayer for deliverance from some woe the Holy Spirit lovingly takes over and redirects and orients my prayer with words of his own that conform to the will of God. I am well aware that God’s ways are higher than my ways and that I am ill-equipped to always pray as I should but I need never worry about that. The God who is for you is the God who intercedes for you, “according to the will of God”.

In light of these precious promises and instruction from the Words of God we should face tomorrow with new confidence, with greater hope, and with more faith than before. I recall the Apostle Paul referring to his many troubles as “light and momentary”(2 Corinthians 2:14), he understood God’s loving design and was confident that mountain top living forever was on the horizon.

God loves you, he desires what is good for you. Our young children often have no understanding of why they can’t do some things because they are immature and lack the experience of their loving parents. So they fuss and cry. Let’s not be like that. God has explained just enough to us that we should be content and faithful even in the valley.

To God be the glory forever and ever, Amen.

Royce Ogle
Monroe, LA

Read more: Lynda Randle – God On The Mountain Lyrics | MetroLyrics

Advertisements

One comment on “The God of the Valley

  1. Royce,

    Life here on earth is a test. We cannot receive a just grade if all the answers are easy. Its how we handle the hard questions that really matters.

    Its just harder to pass when we lose the life of a child and can’t help but wonder why.

    We must keep thinking and looking forward to us seeing them again when we cross that river and they see us coming, jump up shouting and come running out to meet us in the shallow water reaching for our hand.

    The Goodmans were one of my favorite groups for many years.

    Happy new Year

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s