FLETCH: The Valley
My son goes to college in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. In order to get there we have to drive over the mountain. On both sides of the mountain are valleys. We spend more time in the valley than we do on the mountain.
I was reminded this morning in the story of the widow at Nain, that pain and suffering are pervasive in this life. I know this comes as no news to most people. However, we often think about our Christian life as reaching the top of a mountain. We create our own little mountain of success and we think that the peak of the mountain is the place to be. More often than not people are in the valley rather than at the top of the mountain.
In a Friday morning men’s Bible study that I lead, we are reading a book called Mighty to Save, by Richard Phillips. In it he writes concerning this story in Luke 7:11-17, “One thing you will notice if you study the Bible is that there is a great deal of weeping going on…With few exceptions all the major figures of the Bible are seen weeping, and in all sorts of situations.” The truth about life is that sin has caused a great deal of pain, heartache, suffering and ultimately death. Like the widow of Nain who had previously lost her husband now she has lost her only son. She is in a desperate and confusing state. All her earthly hope is gone, it has literally died. But approaching her is Jesus, who can not only bring hope but life to her situation. The text tells us that “Jesus saw her and had compassion on her” (v.13). Jesus “sees” the agonizing situation of this woman and walks into the valley with her. Jesus then literally speaks life back into her son and raises him from the dead. The woman now has hope and has been given her life back. Jesus, who is the life and the resurrection, has the power and authority over death. Jesus, our Savior, empathizes with us, and He walks through the darkest valleys with His people.
There is nothing wrong with looking forward to the mountain top. Joy and hope and encouragement should always characterize us. But we have to realize that most of life is lived in the valley. Yes, one Day all things will be made new; no more tears, no more suffering, no more death. But for now, we face those trials with the presence of Christ.
“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.” Psalm 23:1
May we walk confidently through the valley, knowing Christ is at our side and may we go into the valley with others showing them the hope and life that is found in Christ.
All for Jesus,