The valleys in our lives are the times when things get really hard to deal with. Yet during these valleys, there are more chances to see God work. If we watch for them, we will have more stories to tell of how he has blessed us. There are more chances to lean on Him, and He likes that. He wants us to trust Him because He will never leave us.
"Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Psalm 23
Roses come in different shapes. It seems the promises of the Bible are like roses in my garden. I like to read them over and over as though I am smelling a perfume from heaven. There are three promises that seemed so extra special when I dreaded going to work because I worked with someone who was very angry at me. He tried to smash in my nose. He grabbed me by the shoulder and shook me hard and glared at me. One day he threatened to shoot me and I had to go find another place to work. "The Lord will guard you. He is by your side to protect you." Psalm 121:5 "When you pass through deep waters, I will be with you; your troubles will not overwhelm you. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; your troubles will not overwhelm you. When you pass through the fire, you will not be burned; the hard trials that come will not hurt you. For I am the Lord your God, the holy God of Israel, who saves you. Vs. 5 Do not be afraid—I am with you. Isaiah 43:2-5 "The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a place of safety in times to trouble. Psalms 9:0
Bouquets of roses comforted me when my baby Jerry died. Nothing could really take the pain and emptiness away. My arms ached to hold him. He died because his heart was deformed and he had a chromosome defect. He was born early because he had died. I missed him. I had rocked him and sang to him and loved it when he had moved inside of me. While doing an ultrasound, he had even waved at me. We had so many special things in a room we were fixing up for him to sleep in. We were so sad that he did not live. I did not even notice the flowers or the birds for a long time. I hurt so bad inside. The valley of death is a very painful and ugly valley. Yet even there, I knew Jesus walked in the valley with us. People gave us flowers and the Bible gave us comfort even more than the real roses. My pen wrote all the promises down that comforted me during this valley. Three of my favorite ones are:
"The Lord comforts His people and will have mercy on the afflicted. Isaiah 49:13 "All that are in the grave will hear His voice and come forth" John 5:28, 29. "When the trumpet sounds, the dead will be raised, never to die again, and we shall all be changed." I Cor. 15:52 "Blessed by the God of all comfort; who comforteth us in our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God." 2 Cor. 1:3 Speaking of the future joys of heaven of the lion and lamb and the little child leading them, Isaiah says "The nursing child shall play by the cobra’s hole" Is. 12:8 My little Jerry will play and grow up in Heaven.
Having just left the freeway after 5 hours of driving I was surprised to have a tire blow out. I was on a trip to grandma’s alone with four little children. I had just enough money for gas to get there. I was so upset that the tire blew apart. I stood there and shivered with concern. A man stopped to put on the spare tire for me. I thanked him and he would not accept any pay. He just waved and smiled and drove on. My little girl had explored over the edge of the shoulder of the road and found a beautiful rose bush. I had just been telling God while I was driving that I would like a big rose garden in heaven. Each rose bush could be a testimonial of how He has been there whenever I needed Him. There was never a valley that I walked alone. He always dropped petals in my pathway and made life so special for me. What a sense of humor He had to make the tire wait till there was a roadside rose bush.
I drove to the nearest tire store and was dismayed to discover the cost of tires even greater than my gas money supply. The man at the store was very kind hearted and remembered some nice new tires just thrown away by someone wanting the newest fanciest tires for his fancy car. He rolled them out, put them on, and brought out lemon aid for the kids to drink. It was a very hot day. He did not want any money for the work or for the tires. He just grinned and waved us on. He did receive my gratitude gift of home canned cherries.
His kindness was like more roses in my valley. The worst part of this valley was that we had lost our home and just did not have any money to work with.
You can probably think of some valleys you have been through. Can you remember special things that happened that are like roses?
God’s promises seemed to light up in my little pocket Bible that I always keep with me. They were like light in the darkest hours in the hospital.
Another valley of trouble we went through was when one of our boys got sick after a mission trip. The sickness lasted a year. He lost weight instead of growing or gaining. No one could figure out what he had till a year later when he recovered. It was discovered that a high fever had caused his liver and pancreas to have trouble digesting certain foods. He lost his vitamin A stores and never got better until we gave him juice in large quantities with lots of vitamin A in it (like carrot juice and apricot juice). During the time we were running test after test to see what was wrong, there was misunderstandings. The attending doctor believed he was right and we ended up paying thousands of dollars for his mistakes. It was one of the scariest valleys we ever walked in because they believed we had made up our boys illness. Thank God, no harm came to the child or us except for the loss of thousands of dollars. Other doctors called and insisted the attending doctor was on the wrong track and needed to study how our child was absorbing the fat in his food.
A week later our boy was out of the hospital with no diagnosis but I had read of another case just like his that responded to vitamin A. He loved the juice and suddenly began to improve. He grew one inch in 20 days and gained 12 pounds. We thanked God for the recovery.
When the attending doctor saw my husband, I do not know what made the doctor’s face pale. He began to shake and dropped chart papers. He nervously motioned us into the room with our boy and quickly made arrangements for discharge without diagnosis. I like to think God helped him have a fear that he would be liable for a law suit, though we never threatened him. Whatever caused his fear, we were grateful that our boy was released and we could continue to find a way to help our boy recover. An hour later we discovered it by searching the internet and finding a similar case that responded to vitamin A therapy.
These special promises helped during the dark nights in that week in the hospital being accused of harming the boy we were trying to help:
There was a time when there was no money for food because my husband was in between jobs. The car broke down, the mower broke down, and all the stress seemed to make me not even be able to do the usual chores about the home. Boom, we had hit another valley. The cupboards were almost empty and God had promised they would be full because we had returned our tithe showing we were partners. I reminded Him of His promise.
Just as soon as I got up from my knees, the neighbors were sharing extra beans from their garden. Another neighbor shared canning jars and a third family had slipped into my kitchen while I was getting the jars. The kitchen was so stuffed with food I could not walk. The Malachi 3:9 promise had been fulfilled. The windows of heaven had opened and there was not room for it all. I had just read the promise in Psalms 37:25 "I have been young, and now I am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken nor his seed begging for bread." We never begged for bread. We always had plenty to eat. People were so generous with us. Every week a new fresh supply of food arrived on our porch from different people. Once it had a bundle of red roses attached. These roses had a white with red trimming. They were most exquisite.
The canning jars filled up quickly with all the extra food. It was set on the shelves for winter. It reminded me of the Bible story of the lady with the oil pots. Her husband had gotten sick and died leaving her with big bills to pay. The prophet Elisha had told her to borrow oil pots then close her door and pour till they were all full. God filled her jars and He filled ours.
Roses were growing wild on the land that we camped on when we lost all our belongings. We lost our home and had to start over. This special promise was like a huge bouquet of red roses for me: "And when all your belongings were seized, you endured your loss gladly, because you knew that you still possessed something better, which would last forever. Do not loose courage, …for…just a little while longer, and He who is coming will come." Hebrews 10:34-38 Good news version.
There were so many challenges to living in tents. However we were so grateful that we had a place we could pitch our tents. We really didn’t mind the rain leaking onto our furniture and the wind ripping the tents apart and the cold freezing weather, for we did have our own place to go. We leaned on the Lord more than ever before. He gave us work to do for Him during the cold part of the year. We left to go on a mission trip in the tropics. We had plenty to do making others feel better who had just been through a terrible flood. Giving to others who had less than we did, made us feel rich. Like it says in Psalms 23, God restored our soul. He provided for all our needs (Phil. 4:19). People always gave us handfuls of flowers in gratitude for what we had done for them. It seems that our valleys are just covered with petals or bushes of roses. You probably have seen many of the comfort roses I have been talking about. No tears are shed that God does not notice. (Steps to Christ p. 42) When we realize His great love we should be willing to trust everything to the hand that was nailed to the cross for us. "Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever." Psalms 23 Look at the story of Job. He trusted God no matter what happened. That is what we all need to do. Do you think that you are in a valley right now? Look for the roses. There are promises for every need in the Bible. There are even roses in the most unexpected places perfumed by God's hand ready to cheer you if you just look for them.
Next garden lessons: Kyle's Garden