Day 58: Running Through the Ups and Downs

“But the land you are going over to possess is a land of hills and valleys.” Deuteronomy 11:11

I have a love/hate relationship with running hills. Until last year, the only places I ran included a local high school track and roads with a tremendous amounts of hills. I have heard that running hills can make you stronger and break up the monotony of flat surfaces. It is definitely something which requires hard work to master.

For spring break, my family and I decided to return to those mountains to visit our relatives. Upon awakening this morning, I laced my running shoes and headed outdoors to tackle the hills. I was ready for challenge. Two miles into my run, I reached a 500 foot climb to a hill’s crest, exhaled and reflected on my own life experiences. It seems when I experience mountaintop moments, I’m triumphant while I feel defeated during the valleys.

Wouldn’t life be wonderful if it were filled with nothing less than mountaintop experiences? Wouldn’t we be much happier if we did not experience valleys in our lives? Life is full of hills and valleys, but it is important to understand that we cannot have hills unless we go through the valleys. After a hilltop experience, God allows a valley, which are His training grounds.

Hebrews 12:7-11 says:

Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”

God leads us through the valleys to grow in our character, and to teach us to help others when these go through the valleys. These valleys also help us rely on God and not ourselves. For example, God rescued Paul from many valleys and he learned to trust God’s deliverance. When we are weak, we need to rely on God’s strength.

There’s an old proverb that says, ” all sunshine makes a desert, and all hills without without valleys will make an immature and shallow life.” Its comforting to know that the at the end of every valley there’s a hill, and on the top of that hill there’s a new experience of blessing from God. If we want to experience mountaintops of happiness, we must be willing to experience the valleys of trials and tribulations. It’s comforting and encouraging to know that at the end of every valley is a hill, and upon the crest of the hill awaits a new experience and blessing from God.

I’m excited to know that life is filled with hills and valleys. There is nothing monotonous about it. Every day presents a new challenge to grow in grace, a new opportunity to help others, a new privilege to receive grace and strength from God. During life within the land of hills and valleys, it’s peaceful knowing a God, who is the God the hills and valleys.

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