The look on his rain-drenched face said it all. Two goals down and running out of time. In the opposing team’s stadium, he was surrounded by thousands of fans cheering against him. I always feel bad for the losing soccer team. There are days I can relate to this sense of defeat, when I feel like the disheartened player. I see friends having a picnic on my social media feed.
When we find ourselves in the valley, we can’t wait to get through it and find ourselves on a mountaintop. A vacation would fix this, you say. Or a trip to Starbucks and your favorite clothing store. But the truth is, these quick fixes don’t work.
Have you been there? We all have. When you’re in a valley, you need a strategy to avoid getting stuck. (Valleys are not a place that God wants us to stay). Are you ready for two keys to a winning strategy?
Here is the first: You are not alone. As a child of God, you are never without the Holy Spirit. He is the presence and power of God. When you’re in a valley, it makes all the difference to have God walking with you!
The Holy Spirit was so important and vital to Jesus’ ministry, that after He rose from the grave, He instructed His followers to wait together. In the top floor of a house, the Holy Spirit would be given to them in a world-changing event. He told them in advance, “…it is better that I go, because if I go I will send the Helper (Counselor, Comforter) to you.” What could be better than Jesus’ presence, walking with them every day? The Holy Spirit dwelling in them and all believers everywhere for eternity.
This is your promise in the valley.
You have been given this incredible gift. Start by asking God for a deeper knowledge of how the Holy Spirit is with you in the valley. (Check out Ephesians 1 – 2!)
I’d rather be on a mountaintop, seeing the sun breaking through the clouds that hover over the valley. It’s not a self-help book or a positive-thinking exercise that will bring me there. It’s found in Ephesians 6:13: “Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.”
What is the second secret to overcoming? Know this: with Jesus, your ultimate destiny is victory. The book has already been written. It’s not a question of whether you will fail or not. It’s impossible for Jesus to fail, so in Him you cannot fail. (I have found this to be the biggest perspective-shift ever. Especially on hard days.) Around you may seem hopeless because your vision is not clear. His vision is and He holds the hope you need.
When Jesus came to earth, the book of John says in that moment something profound happened: The darkness, the very real evidence of despair, could not comprehend Him, let alone overcome Him. Conquering the darkest of night, this is the power of the light He brings.
When you are tempted to give up and stay stuck in this valley you’re in, continue to stand on the solid rock that is Christ (and keep walking!). He is King, and He can’t fail! You are on the winning team, unlike the soccer player I watched on the TV recently.
“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.” (James 1:12)
In John 16:33 He says “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
The same God who doesn’t fail is also is gracious. He is patient with us and never shaming. If we’ve made mistakes that have brought us to the valley today, the best thing we can do is turn to Him. When we repent, we welcome His mercy to wipe away shame and guilt. He will lead you to His word that brings life to your heart, while at the same time points us to a better path.
“For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.” -1st John 5:4