It was a financial storm; we had the “privilege” of paying the mortgages on three pieces of real estate for several years, and we were bleeding out financially. It was horrible–one of the deepest valleys through which I have ever walked.
That storm lasted so long that I honestly lost hope, in the middle of that valley, that things would ever get better. But I knew I had to survive it somehow, and I remember the day my attitude changed.
I was at church, and we were worshipping. I was playing djembe in the orchestra at that time. Our orchestra started playing “Wrap Me In Your Arms,” and suddenly I realized:
My God is worthy of my worship whether I like my life circumstances or not.
So I sat the djembe down, lifted both hands to heaven, and began to truly worship from my heart–despite the pain.
That moment will be sealed in my memory forever. It was a game-changer for me.
My focus shifted from feeling sorry for myself and trying to change my circumstances to trying to serve God and obey Him anyway, despite the circumstances.
And that, my friend, makes all the difference in the world.
I truly believe THAT is the decision that led me to submit to the character change the Lord was trying to work in me by leading us through this storm.
And it was only when my character changed–only when I decided to submit to God and do my best to obey Him anyway–that God could allow me to come out of the storm.
Because I absolutely HAD to have that character change. Before that storm, I was extremely unstable emotionally. Up and down, up and down. I'd be happy in the morning and sad two hours later. Then happy again at lunch and discouraged by dinnertime.
My life was an emotional roller coaster, and God could NOT bring me into His plans for my life with me in that condition. I never would have been able to do what He had called me to do.
So He used that storm to stabilize me.
What kind of storm are you enduring right now? What kind of valley are you walking through?
For the next several blog posts, I want to talk to you about how to obey God in that valley. Why? Because obeying God in your valley is the KEY to getting OUT of your valley.
Let me say that again:
Obeying God in your valley is the KEY to getting OUT of your valley.
Sometimes it's not about seeing the situation end right now. Sometimes it's about submitting to heart surgery that God wants to perform in you so that He can advance you to the next level.
It's about finding peace in the valley: developing the ability to trust God and serve Him whether your circumstances are good or not.
That's a hard truth. I know. I've lived it more times than I can count. It's hard.
But beloved, it's still true.
If you want to get OUT of your valley, and if you haven't already done so, it's time to learn to submit to the inner work that Holy Spirit is doing in your heart.
And if you're already submitting to God during your valley–or trying your best to do so, even if you fall sometimes as we all do–then I pray these posts will serve as an encouragement, a reminder, and an inspiration to you to hang in there and keep trusting God.
Before I begin, let me caution you that the points I will share are not things you should just matter-of-factly check off your Good Christian List. Rather, they are essential parts of a heart attitude and lifestyle we should all adopt.
However, if you need to start by checking them off a list, it’s better to do that than not to do them at all! The Lord is mindful that we are but dust (Ps. 103:14), and by His mercy, He will meet us where we are.
So what's the first key that will help you find peace in the valley?
The same thing that changed me and my perspective in my valley: WORSHIP.
I love to worship God, and I have prayed for many years that He would make me a worshipper. I have found no earthly pleasure to equal pouring my heart out to the Lord in worship and adoration, and I never will. In His Presence is fullness of joy (Psalm 16:11)!
Related: How To Get Your Joy Back
Years ago, I heard a story about a pastor who was in a worship service at a large stadium with 5,000 people in attendance.
As he surveyed the people, God spoke to his heart and said, “Out of all those people, only two of them are really worshipping Me.”
I don’t know if that story is true or not, and I don’t even know where it came from. But when I heard it, it broke my heart. I set out to worship God in such a way that the stones would never have to cry out on my behalf.
Our God is so worthy of worship, and I want to worship Him like He deserves. I want to warm Papa's heart with my worship. I want to lavish love on Him.
The worship that Father deserves is so far above my comprehension that I cannot grasp it. Nevertheless, my heart is set on adoring my God with every bit of my heart and my life.
During my valley of the shadow of death–after the Lord gave me that revelation that He is worthy to be worshipped despite my circumstances–I set my heart and determined to worship God despite my pain.
I might not have always walked in the correct attitude, and I might not have always felt very happy. But that has nothing to do with it, because:
- Jesus is still worthy of worship, no matter how I feel.
- He is still the Savior of the world.
- He is still the Lily of the Valley, the Bright and Morning Star, the Fairest of Ten Thousand.
- He is holy, holy, holy.
- He is God Who Was, and Who Is, and Who Is to come.
- He is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8).
Related: Our King, Jesus Christ the Same!
Beloved, I don’t get a vote on whether or not Jesus must be worshipped. None of us do.
So during that storm, I set my face to worship anyway.
I worshipped rain or shine, through smiles and laughter, and through a lot of tears. He was everything to me then, just like He is everything to me now … and He always will be.
Sometimes worshipping Him was hard. Not gonna lie.
Sometimes when I started to worship, I found it hard to break out of my self-pity and focus on Jesus. However, by using the tools of vision and imagination He has given us, by His grace I was able to break through into the Holy of Holies every time.
Related: Listen to my podcast, How to Use Your Holy Imagination, for more (player below).
So if you are having a hard time entering into worship right now, use your tools.
- Imagine Jesus right before you–perhaps seated on a throne, high and lifted up.
- Imagine that you are standing with the 24 elders in Heaven, worshipping around the throne.
- Imagine yourself casting your crown at the feet of Jesus.
- Look up at His face after you give Him your crown. He is looking back at you with eyes like fire.
- See the train of His robe filling the temple.
- Hear the sound of the angels crying “Holy!”
When you use the senses God has given you to enter in to worship, you will break through into His very Presence.
The exterior world will be gone from your vision, and He will fill your entire horizon. His majesty will overwhelm you. You will leave old things behind and find renewal in His Presence.
I would insert one word of caution here: Don’t sit passively and wait for God to touch you.
I’m not saying that God can't touch you when you're just sitting. God is God and He can do anything He pleases. However, my precious friend, as they say: “The odds are agin’ it.”
Jeremiah 29:13 says:
And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.”
God’s way is for us to seek Him. He calls by His Holy Spirit, but we answer by seeking Him with all our heart. So start seeking!
If you need a touch from the Lord–if you need a fresh baptism of fire and love and faith–press in until you get deluged by the Spirit of God!
Start by thanking Him; then, begin praising Him (Psalm 100:4). See Him in your mind's eye! Speak His Scriptures back to Him! Love on Him!
If you do, you will be transported into the very Presence of His glory.
Jesus said, in Matthew 11:12:
And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.”
Beloved, if you will seek God with all your heart, you will find Him.
You and I have the ability right now, by casting our whole hearts at the feet of Jesus, to enter into a level of intimacy and closeness with Him that we've never known.
When I worshipped God through my valley of the shadow of death, I found comfort, peace, hope, renewal, and refreshing in His Presence, and in the ministry of His Holy Spirit.
I found peace in the valley through worship. Worshipping Jesus lifted my eyes off myself, pulled me out of self-pity, and set my focus where it belongs–on the beauty of His face.
Beloved, no matter what kind of valley you're walking through, are you willing to worship Jesus today?
Worship is necessary if you want to find peace in the valley.
If you will enter into intimate worship, you will find blessing and fullness of joy in the presence of Jesus.
Does this word resonate in your heart today? If so, please leave a comment below. I'd love to hear from you!
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