Lessons for the Valley

By Pastor Joel Sims

Luke 5:4 – And Jesus told them, launch out into the DEEP and let your nets down for a catch.

And when they did so they caught a great multitude of fish. So much so their nets began to break.

I had dinner recently with a young couple. He said something that struck me. Oftentimes on the peaks of mountains, there is not much being produced. There isn’t much life up there. It’s hard for others to join you. There isn’t much being sown or grown. It’s beautiful. But it’s also a little barren. But when the sun hits the snow on those peaks. It turns into water and the water goes down to the valley. And in the valley, you don’t see the same heights but you often see the richest provision. Things are growing. There is greenery. There is life and movement. There is lush vegetation. Of course, the con to the valley is

  1. You don’t see the same heights.
  2. If you take in too much water it will drown life and ruin its surroundings.

I see this truly as a metaphor for life. I walk with people who are on peaks and I walk with people who are in valleys.

Peaks: High times, increase, success, a place of life that others look up to.

Valleys: Lower times, a place of disappointment, hurt, maybe failure, or adversity.

And I’ve noticed something. The people on the mountaintops often develop bad habits. They don’t deepen. They get lazy.

Think of King David. 2 Samuel 11:1 says it was a time for kings to go to battle. He was at the pinnacle of his life thus far; he didn’t go to battle. He didn’t fight to deepen. He got lazy on the shores. Didn’t launch out into the deep. This is when he sinned with Bathsheba and got into a spiritual funk for about a year and then it turned into a valley season where everything got worse for a while.

Learn from him. THE FOOLISH THINGS HE DID IN TODAY’S GOOD TIMES, CREATED TOMORROW’S BAD TIMES. His bad habits on the mountain turned the mountain into a valley.

When on the mountain:

  1. Be thankful. See how blessed you are. See the beauty of your surroundings. A lack of thanksgiving will turn a mountaintop into a valley. (That’s worth reading again!)
  2. Lift others up. Walk down the mountain on purpose and bring others with you. If it’s lonely on the mountaintop, you did it wrong. Build a table up there and bring others to it. Let them see the heights with you. A joy SHARED is a joy doubled.
  3. Nourish yourself. Walk down to the valley. Why? Remember what you learned in your valley season. Eat from those lessons. Ask yourself what you learned. Remember the lessons. Deepen in them.

If you don’t walk down to your past valleys and remember the lesson you will create a new valley where you have to learn them all over again. (Selah! Pause and think of that!)

If you are in the valley, know that valleys will make you bitter or better. But they will never leave you unchanged. Valleys are places to DEEPEN. IT’S THE WISE THINGS YOU DO IN TODAY’S BAD TIMES, THAT CREATE TOMORROW’S GOOD TIMES.

When David created his valley with Bathsheba, he let it deepen his faith. He put on the garment of worship. It opened up life for him and his valley became fruitful. He became more spiritually ALIVE. His valley deepened him. If you play your season right, you will see things around you begin to flourish. You will actually enjoy the valley.

You don’t just have a concept of forgiveness, you learn to forgive and drink from the joy of it. You don’t just know to pray. You actually do, and you eat from the strength of the Spirit. You don’t just know to persevere, you actually do. You learn you are capable of handling more than you ever imagined and life begins to flourish. The valley begins to produce.

Here is your challenge though: the valley itself can be so beautiful you STAY THERE. Not seeing that it’s designed to give you the nourishment you need to climb ANOTHER mountain.

You’re not just DEEPER. You went deeper to LAUNCH your nets.

Lessons for the Valley

  1. Don’t let the waters drown you. Drink from them. Don’t let the disappointment discourage you. Let it teach you. What do I need to learn in this? What do I need to DEEPEN? Get coaching. Journal. Don’t get bitter. Overcome evil with good!
  2. The valley can often be beautiful too. In fact, in my own valley seasons, I look back and see those were some of the best times of my life. God is a God of hills! But He also is with you in the valley! My richest times of prayer, friendship, worship, and growth were in the valley seasons. When the disciples fished all night and caught nothing, they opened their lives to Jesus and his instruction. This is what you do in the valley! You open your life to Jesus and his instruction, and you feast in intimacy with Him.
  3. You gain strength to climb the next mountain. You have rested. Feasted. Looked up. And now you’re ready like Caleb to take your next mountain with the strength you found in the valley.

The Lord is your Shepherd. It’s time to go deeper and launch out!

July 31, 2023