I am sure you have heard the saying, “Every cloud has a silver lining.” The saying seems to suggest that despite negative circumstances that may appear dark and cloudy, there is positivity and clarity that can be found in the form of sunshine and light. Having experienced my fair share of ups and downs in life, in faith, in marriage, in friendships, in work, in education, and really every facet of life–I have found that you truly can find clarity in the midst of confusion. In fact, I think it is in the darkest nights that we become most enlightened, or on the cloudiest of days that we truly recognize the sun.
I believe that life is the most unique ride any of us will travel. It is full of highs and lows, mountains and valleys, darkness and light. We each travel our own path and experience these at different times. For me, I was recently going through a valley–confused about where my life was headed, feeling not content with my work situation, wondering if the degree I was pursuing was what I was supposed to do, and questioning whether my God cared. . . Let me just say this–valleys are a struggle for me. I am the type of person who wants to plan out my life. I want to know every detail and have it organized in perfect place. I like things to be done in my timing. I guess you could call me a “control-freak.” It is just really hard for me to relinquish control of “my” life and my plans to someone else.
What I have realized though, is that the valley is when God is trying to remind me that I cannot manage my life on my own. I cannot be content within myself if I am not content where God has placed me. I think the valley is God’s way of pushing us to see the light. It is easy to think that God is “punishing” us with things aren’t going the way we want, but God doesn’t work like that. A friend once told me, “I know that God is my loving Father, not a “dead-beat dad”, “alcoholic father”, or absentee, or punisher. We are His daughters and are seated in heavenly places through Christ. We are covered in His precious blood.” Because God is a loving Father, He wants to pour out blessings on our lives.
I used to think that God’s blessings were somehow dependent on what I did–whether I was good or bad, but that is not the case. God’s blessings are dependent on His love for us, and what He accomplished through the cross. “Every good gift and every prefect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” (James 1:17, ESV) Because of God’s unchanging nature and His constant love for us, He blesses us.
When I opened up myself to the idea that God wants to bless me, not punish me, and that it was all about Him and not me, the blessings He began to pour into my life have overwhelmed me! The Bible says, “I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test!” (Malachi 3:10b, NLT) I know what it is like to live life in darkness–surrounded by negativity and sadness and confusion–but if you can just remember that God is not the author of confusion, nor the creator of darkness, but a loving Father ready to bless you and provide you with clarity and contentment, that valley won’t seem as bad or as long, the mountain top will be just around the corner, the light will be right at the end of that tunnel, and the sun breaking behind the clouds.