I’ve recently been made aware of something quite startling and, frankly, convicting: It is oftentimes better for me to be in a spiritual valley than at the spiritual equivalent of sea level. At first, this seems counterintuitive because it implies that I am in a bad spot with God but I am somehow better off for it. But, many times it is when we are at these lows in our lives that the hard questions start to get answered.
Low times often give us ample opportunity for self-reflection. We say “something isn’t right, what isn’t right, and how can I fix it?” It’s obvious that we’re broken and we don’t want to stay this way, so we identify the problem. I concede, this is an overly generalized view of spiritual valleys, but stay with me, I think I’m going somewhere with this.
God uses these times of mourning to teach me, to reconstruct me, and mold me into a more Christlike man. It is at times of despair where I am most vulnerable. If I turn to God and let him help me out, I come out a different person than I entered.
But that’s enough abstract thinking. Let me tell you a story that puts these ideas into real life. So bear with me as I get real with you for a second.
Three and a half weeks ago, I had a concussion that kept me out of classes for a week and kept me out of soccer for the last two weeks of our season. I had to watch our team lose in the semi final, able to do nothing but support from the sidelines. I couldn’t do any homework and got miles behind the rest of the class.
I got really scared from all of this because I’ve had a few people close to me have to deal with concussion symptoms for a long, long time. I couldn’t bear to think about the consequences of a long-term concussion. It could mean dropping my classes from the semester. It could mean not playing soccer. It could mean I go back and live at home when I am starting to hit my social stride.
But through all of this God was teaching me. I had the feeling through the whole experience that something good would come out of it, even though I couldn’t fathom what that possibly could be. I ended up being taught how importance servant leadership is to my teammates. My coaches always stress that everyone on the team can affect the game, and that included me. I did whatever I could for me teammates because I wanted them to be able to focus on playing the game. It’s a futile feeling at first, but its rewards are monumental.
But the biggest thing God taught me through my valley is what incredible relationships I’ve developed over the past three months. I had people come around me in a way that I had experienced before. I must have been told five times a day that someone was praying for me. Having someone say they are praying for you is a powerful thing. Someone setting themselves aside, and asking the Almighty for healing of me. It’s amazing.
If you’ve made it this far, then congratulations, you’ve endured my ramble. But I think it is important to remember that the low times in our lives our perhaps the most important times because that is when we have the opportunity to undergo meaningful change. It’s great to be on a spiritual high, do everything you can for God but the challenge is putting ourselves in God’s hands when we are in despair.
To end, it was brought to my attention that there is a very fitting mewithoutYou lyric to end this post on. So without more explanation:
“In our darkness a light shines, and all I ever want to say for the rest of my life is how that light is God… and though I’ve been mistaken on this or that point, that light is God.”
Thanks Matt for the heads up.