The Valley is Where the Lilies Grow

2 06 2008

One of the most recognizable of all Scriptures is Psalm 23. I would like to lift one truth out of that wonderful chapter and cross-reference it with Song of Solomon 2:1 that says, “I am the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valleys.” Putting them both together, we discover that the valley is where the lilies grow.

The Valley is your place of private pain. The valley has frightening shadows, sharp thorns, and limited vision. Psalm 23 mentions the valley of the SHADOW of death. Some of you are in the valley right now. Perhaps you have been thrust there by a broken heart, financial reversal, family trouble, or even conflict in your marriage. Some of you have loved ones in the Middle East, or will soon be deployed there. You face the valley of loneliness, shortsightedness and decisions you are not used to making. Can I say that I feel your pain and want to be there when it hurts the most? Someone has said, “It is easier to suffer in silence if you are sure that someone is watching.”

Our problem (and we all do it!) is that we spend too much time in the valley looking at the shadows. The shadows keep us up at night with worry, they seem to highlight our pain; they unleash our desperation. The shadows challenge our faith and loosen our tongue to spew out bitterness and negativism.

Allow me to wrestle your attention from the shadows, the pain, the tears, and direct it toward the lily. The lily does not grow on the mountaintop – too much sun, too much wind (lilies are very delicate). The lily thrives in the place of shadows where life seems to stand still. They grow even in the snowy cold of late winter and early spring. In other wards, as you walk through the valley, do not focus on the shadows, but on the lilies!

Four Lilies you can see in the valley:

  1. Knowing your real friends – On the mountaintop when things are going your way, it is hard to tell who your real friends are. In the valley, a true friend graces your pain with the sweet aroma of loyalty that is closer than that of family. While in the valley, enjoy the lily of true friendship!
  2. Learning how to pray – We never feel the need to pray while on the mountaintop, but in the valley, the lily of prayer flourishes. The lyrics of a gospel song remind us, “If I never had a problem, I’d never know that God could solve it”. In the valley, do not seek the sympathy of others lest you find disappointment. In the valley, seek God in prayer.
  3. Knowing real comfort – The lily of prayer actually leads us to the lily of comfort. There are two reactions of people while in the valley:
    1. “I don’t think I can take this anymore” (because of focusing on the shadows)
    2. “God, you are still in control” (because of focusing on the lily of prayer and discovering the lily of comfort). “Oh what peace we often forfeit, oh what needless pain we bare. All because we do not carry, everything to God in prayer.
  4. Finding the One who understands – Some of you know the comfort of the words, “I understand,” spoken with moistened eye as you bury a loved one. Reality check – 9 out of 10 valleys you go through, people:
    1. Do not understand
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