In our lives, all of us will have ups and downs. We often hear them referred to as peaks and valleys. We all love the peaks, we see them as the highlights of our lives. The first steps, getting our first car, getting married and so much more falls into the highlights. We take videos and pictures so we can share the moments with everyone around us. Now the valleys are another story. The first rule about valleys is we don't talk about the valleys. We do all we can to hide them from others. We often see these times as personal failures. Even when we feel low we will say what did I do to deserve this? It's as if we always look at the valleys as being a bad thing. What could happen in our lives and the lives of those around us if we could understand the opportunities of the valley? Ancient Franciscan Monks understood the valleys, they fashioned a prayer that is still with us today.
"May God bless you with discomfort at easy answers, hard hearts, half-truths, and superficial relationships, so that you may live from deep within your heart where God's Spirit dwells.
May God bless you with tears to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation, and war, so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and turn their pain into joy.
And may God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you can make a difference in this world and in your neighborhood so that you will courageously try what you don't think you can do, but in Jesus Christ you'll have the strength necessary to do.
May God bless you so that you remember we are all called to continue God's redemptive work of love and healing in God's place, in and through God's name, in God's Spirit, continually creating and breathing new life and grace into everything and everyone we touch."
See if we see the valleys as opportunities we can make a difference in the world. The questions I pose to you. What is God trying to discomfort you with? How is he trying to continue His redemptive work through you in everything and everyone you touch? And do you have a God-size dream? Something that can not get accomplished without Jesus.
I pray that this Franciscan Monk's prayer will help you see that God is trying to do something in your Valley, that there is an opportunity to work for God in the place that we don't want to share but God wants us to use for Him.