The Valley

Range, by digitizedchaos

I have walked through a few valleys in my spiritual  life.  Some harder and lonelier than others.  But, I haven’t driven through many valleys of desolation… But  recently, I did.

My daughters had a conference last week.  Unfortunately, my husband wasn’t able to come along.  So, my husband and girls and I  loaded up and then we hopped in the van (without him) to make a seven hour trek into west Texas.  I haven’t driven that far alone with my three girls before.  Honestly, we had a lovely trip overall.  My girls are great companions and content travelers, so there were no issues there.

The issue arose before it actually arose… if that makes any sense.  Days before we left, I had mapped out my journey using online maps.  You probably can guess the rest.  {Sigh.}  And although I’ve had a few issues arise here and there with online maps, overall they’d never steered me very wrong.  And, in a way, this time was no different.  But yet, it was different.

About 5 or 6 hours into our trip I realized that we were in the middle of nowhere.  I don’t mean rural.  I mean nowhere.  I mean no houses, no cars, no animals, no fences, no power lines, no… anything.  Nothing.  Nada.  The online map gave me the “quickest route” but not necessarily the safest, wisest route.

When we lost the internet service we were using for our kid friendly online music, I cheerily said, “That’s ok!  We’ll switch to regular radio.”  As I hit the scan button, our hearts sank after it scanned through every radio call number three times without ever  finding a station.  I turned it off.  The older girls looked at me in silence.  I looked back in silence.  And we drove.  And we looked forward and viewed the hills and the brush and the rocks and sand, and absolutely gorgeous sky, dotted with perfect puffy white cumulus clouds.

We talked about the desert.  We talked about the things we saw.  We talked about how things look close, but are farther than they appear.  We talked.  And my daughter, glancing at her phone, somehow noticed that we had lost  all cell phone service.

And we drove.  I realized we only had a quarter of a tank of gas left.  I was starting to get nervous.  I had no idea that the online map service I chose would lead us so far out into such a desolate area.  I knew that we should make it to our destination on one tank of gas, but fear was creeping in.

And as I looked around the hilly west Texas desert, feeling frightful yet awed at the quiet beauty surrounding me,  a verse came to mind…

“Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.”  (Psa 23:4, NLT)

And I kept saying it in my mind, knowing that no matter what happened, I could trust in my precious Savior to be my Help.  I felt a fine balance enter in and chase away the fear that was beginning to grow.  A balance of wisdom, caution in our situation, and trust in God.  It wasn’t a one time shot of fear-reducer, but rather a power that kept chasing that fear and darkness away.

 “I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? 

My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.”  (Psa 121:1,2, ESV)

And I began to pray.  Prayed for us to find a gas station, prayed for us to make it to the next town, prayed for us to be wrapped in His protection, prayed for my faith and trust to grow… (I mean, after all, God fed Elijah using ravens.. and that desert probably looks similar to one we were in… and He is more than capable of helping me get gas in my tank!)

So I waited, drove, prayed, and trusted.  And He provided.  And then we saw a sign…

Next Town 13 miles

A big sigh of relief… A big “Thank you, God!”

Even in the valley, or a lonely desert of Texas for that matter, God provides.  He provides love.  He provides peace.  He provides faithfulness.  He provides hope.  He provides faith.  He provides grace.  He provides wisdom.  He provides.  He provides.

 Were we ever in any real danger?  Probably not.  But the what-ifs were so strong. Yet, He is so much stronger.  And I am so thankful for the peace He gave, and the faithfulness He reminded me of…

And by the way, we came home a different route.

How has God provided for you lately?

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8 thoughts on “The Valley

    • Aww, thank you, Debbie! He works in such amazing and creative ways, doesn’t He? — just when I think there’s no possible way I can love or trust Him more, He shows me where I can grow and gives the opportunity! Blessings in Christ to you and yours!

  1. It reminded me of an old song. Gogi Grant, I think, made the original version, but Patty Andrews (of the famous Andrews Sisters) made a version too. Here are the lyrics to the last verse:
    “When you think there’s no bright tomorrow
    And you feel you can’t try again
    Suddenly there’s a valley
    Where hope and love begin”
    The song is “Suddenly There’s A Valley”

    • I’m not familiar with that song- I’ll have to look it up. I enjoyed the lyrics you shared. Thank you! …God is so immensely loving and ever-present… in every valley of life! May you be blessed by Him today and everyday!

  2. Hi Ali! (or is it Alison?) I met you at the Declare Conference and man, was it a great event or what? I’m just now circling back to message contacts and read notes. I really enjoy your blog! Yes, I’ve been in a similar (very scary) situation. Oddly enough, it was on my way to another writers’ conference last October. The mechanic forgot to screw the oil cap back on the car after an oil change! About 2 hours into my drive, the car started smoking. But God was so good ~ I was in the middle of no where and found a station up the road where I least expected it.

    • Hi!! So wonderful to “see” you again! :). And, wow! What a story– so glad yours turned out with a good ending as well. It’s so reassuring to know that no matter the ending, though, God has our ultimate, eternal good in mind! God bless!

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