The Valley of Vision
I remembered you, Lord, and my prayer rose to you. Jonah 2:7
The Puritan prayer “The Valley of Vision” speaks of the distance between a sinful man and his holy God. The man says to God, “Thou hast brought me to the valley of vision . . . ; hemmed in by mountains of sin I behold Thy glory.” Aware of his wrongs, the man still has hope. He continues, “Stars can be seen from the deepest wells, and the deeper the wells the brighter Thy stars shine.” Finally, the poem ends with a request: “Let me find Thy light in my darkness, . . . Thy glory in my valley.”
Jonah found God’s glory during his time in the ocean’s depths. He rebelled against God and ended up in a fish’s stomach, overcome by his sin. There, Jonah cried to God: “You cast me into the deep . . . . The waters surrounded me, even to my soul” (Jonah 2:3,5 nkjv). Despite his situation, Jonah said, “I remembered you, Lord, and my prayer rose to you” (v. 7). God heard his prayer and caused the fish to free him.
Although sin creates distance between God and us, we can look up from the lowest points in our lives and see Him—His holiness, goodness, and grace. If we turn away from our sin and confess it to God, He will forgive us. God answers prayers from the valley.
Lord, in the daytime stars can be seen from deepest wells, and the deeper the wells the brighter Your stars shine; let me find Your light in my darkness.
The darkness of sin only makes the light of God’s grace shine brighter.
By Jennifer Benson Schuldt
The Assigning of the Call
I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church… —Colossians 1:24
We take our own spiritual consecration and try to make it into a call of God, but when we get right with Him He brushes all this aside. Then He gives us a tremendous, riveting pain to fasten our attention on something that we never even dreamed could be His call for us. And for one radiant, flashing moment we see His purpose, and we say, “Here am I! Send me” (Isaiah 6:8).
This call has nothing to do with personal sanctification, but with being made broken bread and poured-out wine. Yet God can never make us into wine if we object to the fingers He chooses to use to crush us. We say, “If God would only use His own fingers, and make me broken bread and poured-out wine in a special way, then I wouldn’t object!” But when He uses someone we dislike, or some set of circumstances to which we said we would never submit, to crush us, then we object. Yet we must never try to choose the place of our own martyrdom. If we are ever going to be made into wine, we will have to be crushed—you cannot drink grapes. Grapes become wine only when they have been squeezed.
I wonder what finger and thumb God has been using to squeeze you? Have you been as hard as a marble and escaped? If you are not ripe yet, and if God had squeezed you anyway, the wine produced would have been remarkably bitter. To be a holy person means that the elements of our natural life experience the very presence of God as they are providentially broken in His service. We have to be placed into God and brought into agreement with Him before we can be broken bread in His hands. Stay right with God and let Him do as He likes, and you will find that He is producing the kind of bread and wine that will benefit His other children.
We are not to preach the doing of good things; good deeds are not to be preached, they are to be performed. So Send I You, 1330 L