Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; Psalm 23:4a NIV
For those of you who don’t know, Better Off Read Ministries, was ‘born’ on December 2, 2011 at Calvary Chapel, Kennewick, as I spoke at their Women’s Christmas Banquet. This website was conceived from my dream to write, which I have desired to do for the past fifteen years. Recently, I hired a professional website designer to assist me in making this website more relevant, effective and utilized. The designer did a fabulous job and what I am about to share is no reflection on his work. He did it well, very well. But quite frankly, the results of his research affected me in a surprising way. It made me want to give up. The last few weeks I have struggled with what direction to take and how to implement the very good counsel that was given. I have felt overwhelmed, totally inadequate and just plain tired! The vision I had for this ministry wasn’t as ‘big’ as the counsel I received.
This experience brought back some old familiar feelings. I hope you don’t mind my honesty. But I felt like I gave birth to this dream, Better Off Read, and now I was discovering that it was not right, that there was something wrong with what was birthed. And so for the last few weeks, I have struggled through the valley of this vision and found it hard to write. Recently, however, I was encouraged by a study in scripture that I did on ‘Valleys’ and also by a timely reading of Oswald Chamber’s, My Utmost For His Highest. In my vision for Better Off Read, I imagined a ministry that I could pull off all on my own. After receiving counsel, I began to see that maybe God had something more in mind. Something that would be impossible without Him! I had to go through the ‘valley of humiliation’ as Oswald Chambers puts it so eloquently in the following excerpt.
Just as We always have visions before a thing is made real. When we realize that although the vision is real, it is not real in us, then is the time that Satan comes in with his temptations, and we are apt to say it is no use to go on. Instead of the vision becoming real, there has come the valley of humiliation
‘Life is not as idle ore,
But iron dug from central gloom,
And batter’d by the shocks of doom
To shape and use.’
God gives us the vision, then He takes us down to the valley to batter us into the shape of the vision, and it is in the valley that so many of us faint and give way. Every vision will be made real if we will have patience. Think of the enormous leisure of God! He is never in a hurry. We are always in such a frantic hurry. In the light of the glory of the vision we go forth to do things, but the vision is not real in us yet; and God has to take us into the valley, and put us through fires and floods to batter us into shape, until we get to the place where He can trust us with the veritable reality. Ever since we had the vision God has been at work, getting us into the shape of the ideal, and over and over again we escape from His hand and try to batter ourselves into our own shape. The vision is not a castle in the air, but a vision of what God wants you to be. Let Him put you on His wheel and whirl you as He likes, and as sure as God is God and you are you, you will turn out exactly in accordance with the vision. Don’t lose heart in the process. If you have ever had the vision of God, you may try as you like to be satisfied on a lower level, but God will never let you.Chambers, O. (1986). My Utmost For His Highest: Selections for the year.Grand Rapids, MI: Oswald Chambers Publications; Marshall Pickering.
As I studied the valleys in scripture, (Check out this week’s “Just Say Know” Bible Study below) I saw that battles are won or lost in the valley. David, with God’s help, kills Goliath in the Valley of Elah after Saul and the entire Israelite army had quaked with fear for forty days. While facing war in the Valley of Beracah, Jehoshaphat’s battle cry to the Israelite army said nothing of “Keep ranks!”, “Observe orders!” or “Fight valiantly!”. Instead he said to them, “Have faith in the Lord your God and you will be upheld!” They got to the battlefield and found that God had already taken care of all their enemies! My favorite is Ezekiel’s vision of the Valley of Dry Bones in which God took what was dead and with the power of His Spirit, made it alive! I have to say, after studying scripture, I now see valleys a little differently these days! LH
“JUST SAY KNOW” Bible Study
Click on the link below for this week’s Bible Study on “Valley of a Vision.”