Before the Israelites took possession of the Promised Land, God described the land that He was giving them. It was a land that flowed with milk and honey (Deuteronomy 11:9). As He told them about the land, He pointed out that it was not like the land of Egypt, a land that required them to irrigate the ground in which they sowed their seeds (Deuteronomy 11:10). Then God told them something that I believe applies to our lives as well. God said, “But the land that you are going over to possess is a land of hills and valleys, which drinks water by the rain from heaven, a land that the LORD your God cares for. The eyes of the LORD your God are always upon it, from the beginning of the year to the end of the year.” (Deuteronomy 11:11–12, ESV)
Just like the land that God gave to the Israelites, as followers of Christ, our lives will be like a “land of hills and valleys.” There will be mountaintop experiences, times when we feel the presence of God and the joy that comes from Him in ways that are beyond description, much like what the disciples, Peter, James, and John experienced when they saw Jesus transfigured in all His glory on the mountaintop. There will be other times that may not be mountaintop experiences but will be times when life is good and we feel content. But there will also be valleys, those times when things are low, times when trials and tribulations surround us and we see no end in sight. We may even wonder where God is and feel as if He is far from us.
When God told the Israelites about the land He was giving them, the land of hills and valleys, He also said it was a land that He cares for. In Deuteronomy 11:12, God gave this promise concerning the land, that His eyes are always upon it. And not just some of the time, but all of the time, from the “beginning of the year to the end of the year.” Whether we are on a hill or in a valley in our lives, God promises to be there with us. His eyes are always upon our lives. And when we are in the valleys, we can take comfort in knowing God is with us. David understood this. In the beautiful Psalm 23, he wrote that the Lord, his Shepherd, was with him even when he walked through the “valley of the shadow of death.” At those low points, David knew that God was with him to lead him, guide him, and give him comfort (Psalm 23:4).
This wonderful promise of God, the promise to be with us in the hills and valleys of life, was also understood by Jesus. On the night when He would be betrayed by one of His own disciples and arrested, the night before He would suffer and die, Jesus told His disciples that, although they would all be scattered, leaving Him alone, He would not be truly alone because God, the Father, is always with Him. Jesus knew that God was with Him, even in the valley He would walk through beginning that very night (John 16:32).
Are you in a valley in your life right now? If so, take joy and comfort in knowing that God is with us, even in the valleys of life.
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.