Sickness had dogged him since childhood; year after year, he battled despair. At times he felt so hopeless that he described himself as a living dead man, cut off from God’s care.
Yet he was one of three appointed, anointed national worship leaders during Israel’s glory days, the reign of King David.
The same man who wrote Psalm 88, the most despondent Psalm in the whole Bible, which ends with the line,”Darkness is my closest friend,” also led a full choir and orchestra in singing praise to God, time after time:
“He is good; his love endures forever.” (2 Chronicles 5:13)
Talk about the tension of the already/not yet! Heman (Hay-mawn) knew this paradox all too well.
Perhaps you do, too.
Maybe life is tough and you’ve been in a dark valley for a time. Maybe your feelings and circumstances make it seem like God is angry with you, or that he’s playing some kind of cruel joke, or that he just doesn’t care.
Perhaps your prayers have boiled down to the simple cries of “Why?” and “Help!”
Just like Psalm 88.
If that’s the case, I’m sorry for your distress. I want you to know that this season holds certain treasures for you.
Here’s the thing: In order to find value in the valley, you need to recognize what the valley reveals.
- A valley reveals your human limitations and your utter dependence on God and others. It helps you realize how vulnerable you really are. It offers you humility, a priceless virtue.
In Humble Roots, Hannah Anderson says, “Humility is understanding who God is and who we are. Humility remembers both your human limitations and God’s transcendent power.”
- A valley reveals your intrinsic worth aside from performance and achievement. Maybe you feel helpless or useless right now. The truth is, you are created in God’s image, and therein lies your value — not in what you get done.
- A valley reveals bad theology. We can be tempted to believe that if we say or do ABC, God has to do XYZ. But God is bigger than our faith formulas. The valley strips away false comfort and helps us learn to trust in the midst of unanswered questions.
It’s only when you feel helpless that you realize how much you need a Helper.
It’s only when you feel useless that you realize your worth is not in your work.
It’s only when life feels out of control that you realize Who has been in control all along.
“And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.” — I Peter 5:10
In the valley, God is at work mending and repairing you, strengthening and confirming your faith, laying a solid foundation in your very soul.
The biggest benefit of the valley is personal transformation.
When we come out of the dark, low places of our journey, we come out changed. What we gain there lasts forever.
It’s been said that God is more interested in our character than our comfort. He sees the big picture, and he has your best interests in mind.
Back to our man Heman — here’s how he felt: “Your wrath lies heavily on me…why, Lord, do you reject me?” (Psalm 88:7, 14).
Yet here’s what happened:
I Chronicles 25:5 says that God exalted Heman by giving him fourteen sons and three daughters –in the ancient Hebrew world, a huge sign of God’s favor!
Heman’s suffering was not due to God’s anger. Your suffering isn’t, either. Far from it.
He is good. His love endures forever. He is working something deep and eternal in you.
Will you trust him in the valley?