As surely as the sun rises, the Lord will appear. He will come to us like the rain, like the spring rain that waters the earth. Hosea 6:3

Giants loom, waves crash and the fire burns.

Can you and I agree not to waste any time pretending that life is a cakewalk or an endless parade of sunshine and unicorns and magical happy moments? Those moments and days and seasons exist, to be sure. They are real and lovely and such a gift.

But let’s be honest, life is also real hard. It’s beautiful and brutal at the very same time.

I face a giant
In over my head
Help me to look up
I take a deep breath
And take the next step
Though I may be weak
I know who is with me

As surely as the sun rises, the Lord will appear. He will come to us like the rain, like the spring rain that waters the earth. Hosea 6:3

Sometimes the best we can do is doggy-paddle. Or maybe you’ve got a boat and an oar and you’re paddling like crazy as the waves rock you back and forth. Way back in middle school someone told me these words and I’ve found them to be more than true: We’re all either just getting out of a storm, in the middle of a storm, or about to enter a storm.

It’s how life goes in this broken world and there’s no use in denying it. I don’t know where you fall within those three “options,” if you’re coming out of, going into, or currently in the midst of a storm. I’ll be honest, I’m currently in the middle of one. A handful of weeks ago I thought the clouds were beginning to shift, the sun poking out just a bit. {Newsletter friends, remember the rainbow?} But I’m not naïve, I know that the wind might pick back up, the rain may fall down in sheets once again.

If you’re in the middle of a storm, desperately trying to stay afloat in the heartache, in the unknown, in the exhaustion, then I want to share something I recently learned, something I probably should have known but somehow missed.

And greater is He living in me
Than he who is in the world
Whatever may come, His strength is enough
My heart is at peace, for greater is He

The view of the Sea of Galilee from Mt. Arbel. Picture taken by Kaitlyn Bouchillon.

In her book Find Your Brave, Holly Wagner talks about the Sierra Nevada mountain range in California. She mentions how the Central Valley, which yields a third of all produce grown in the U.S.,  is at the base of several mountain peaks.

This seems random, I know. I thought so too. But then I read the next line in her book: “In most cases it [the valley] is watered by the runoff from the mountains that surround it.”

The view from the mountaintop is spectacular, to be sure. It’s breathtaking and thrilling and often leaves us speechless. We take pictures and Instagram the moment. But if you’ve ever been to the top of a mountain, let me ask you a simple question: have you found fruit there? Of the (few) mountains I’ve climbed, I’ve always been met with a view that takes my breath away but I’ve never found physical nourishment waiting for me at the top.

The fruit isn’t at the top. Fruit is grown in the valley.

And those valleys? They’re watered by the runoff of the mountains.

When we’re living out a chapter of our life story that’s full of beauty and wonder and answered prayers, we see Him there. But we don’t stay there, right? Because life happens, in one way or another, and we start heading into the valley. Wonder and beauty changes to wandering and wondering.

Valley of Elah

In my mind, it’s easy to equate valley with wilderness. It seems vast and empty, as if I’ll be aimlessly wandering for an endless forever. But when I look back over the different valleys in my life, the and and and, quite frankly, every moment I’ve chosen to say I see so clearly that He was with me and fruit was waiting to be found.

I wouldn’t choose to go into the valley (and I doubt you would choose to enter into or live out the valley chapters of your life, if given the option), but looking back those are the moments God has seemed the closest. Those are the times I’ve seen Him provide abundantly more than needed. In the valleys, I’ve watched with amazement as the rain from the mountaintop moments comes down and waters the dry ground, sustaining me through doubt, through darkness, through uncertainty.

God provided for the Israelites in the wilderness and sends rain into the valleys of our lives. What seems dry, desolate and hopeless can be the very ground where a river springs up.

See, I am doing a new thing... Isaiah 43:19

I face an ocean
The waves are raging
Help me to look up
You’ll do what I can’t
And I’ll walk on dry land
I’ll step out on the sea
‘Cause I know who is with me

He is, after all, the Living Water. Mountaintop moments are amazing, but we’re formed in the valleys.

And the rain that falls down, watering what is dry and bringing forth life? Well, I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised when He recently reminded me of this verse, this promise that in every valley He sends rain — He sends Himself.

Let us acknowledge the Lord. Let us press on to know the Lord. As surely as the sun rises, the Lord will appear. He will come to us like the rain, like the spring rain that waters the earth. Hosea 6:3

He is a faithful Father... He will come to us like the rain. {Hosea 6:3}

And in His name, giants will fall
And in His name, oceans will part
And in His name, there’s nothing we won’t overcome
This is our God, this is our God
This is our God, this is our God*

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*You can listen to the song Greater Is He here.
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