THE VALLEY OF DECISION

man wearing red hoodie standing near body of water with view of mountains
Photo by Simon Migaj on Pexels.com

Decisions, decisions. In the words of Joel the prophet, “Multitudes, Multitudes in the valley of decision.” Most decisions are small and are made every day almost without thought. Then there are those that we find ourselves running from or wrestling with that keep us up at night. These are the “valley decisions.” A valley is either the place where you are caught between a rock and a hard place with mountains on every side or a lost place. A place of confusion and disorientation.

The first time I read this passage in Joel 3 my heart sank at the thought of multitudes in a valley of decision. What will they do with Jesus? It both horrifies and compels me. The truth of that still sits with me but today to Lord showed me this passage from a different perspective. This does not nullify its meaning but opens another revelation.

Those who have already made the decision to follow Christ will still find themselves in valleys of decision. These decisions must be made but we see mountains on every side. Fear of the unknown hangs over us like a looming shadow. I have been in this valley several times and as I look back, I see two things it took to move out of the valley which are noted in Joel 3:10. He says, “Beat your plowshares into swords and your pruning hooks into spears; Let the weak say, “I am strong.’”

This picture expresses going from the daily routine to a posture of war. First, change your usual tools from routine to a weapon of purpose. You cannot continue as if nothing is different. There is a season for plowing and pruning back. Then there is a season of advancing and taking new ground where you aren’t just plowing the same old ground over and over. Second, while in the valley you may feel small, weak and ill-equipped but you are not to make decisions based on how you feel. You must say “I am strong.” We must not let fear lead. Faith must lead the charge. Gideon, in Judges 6 is a great example. He was threshing wheat in fear, but the angel called him a mighty man of valor signifying he was a warrior not a thresher. He needed different tools and faith instead of fear.

Once we have warred for direction we must charge forward in faith. The just shall live by faith. We cannot remain in a valley of decision. Our indecision is a decision and double mindedness will only take you in circles. This was the case for the children of Israel in the wilderness. They said they wanted to go to the promised land but feared and had no faith seeing themselves as grasshoppers against giants. This led to a 40-year journey of going in circles until Joshua led the faith charge forward.

The good news for those who belong to Jesus is that every valley has a river running through it. He is our source of strength and refreshing. If we will get in the river his current will carry us to the right destination.

Scripture references:

Joel 1-3

Judges 6

Psalm 23 explains this. “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Jaime Luce

He’s Relentless

achildblr_mcb8s2bdvq1rribcco1_500My English class was going over the three parables in Luke 15 when the Lord decided to teach me today. In this chapter Jesus tells three parables one right after the other to emphasize the message. I have always read them as individual parables. They each had some meaning and value alone but today I saw them as one, as Jesus intended. Jesus was constantly showing us the Father through his life so that we would know him. He said if you’ve seen me you’ve seen the father. Here in this chapter Jesus is painting a beautiful picture of the Father’s relentless pursuit of us and how heaven rejoices when we’ve been found by him.

The first parable tells of the shepherd leaving the ninety-nine to go find the one. When he finds it he calls everyone to tell them how he is rejoicing for his sheep is now found, safe and back in the fold with him. Here he can love, provide for and protect the sheep he loves.

The second parable is the woman who has lost a coin. She lights a lamp and searches until she finds it and when she does, she calls everyone to rejoice with her because what was lost is now found. The coin can now be used for its purpose and is not wasted. What I saw for the first time that lost meant in the dark. The light had to be shed for the coin to be found. Many times, we and our purpose and value are missing in the dark. Jesus, the light of the world, comes to show us who we are and how valuable he’s made us and that we have great purpose yet to be fulfilled.

The third and probably everyone’s favorite comes right on its heals. The parable of the prodigal son. I’m sure we know this story but what’s so beautiful is that the father is looking for his son anticipating his return. He’s sees him a far off. This tells me he’s looking intently. A prodigal is lost in a different way. He chose to get lost so he needs to choose to come home. But the beauty in this is that Father God acts the same way even when we’ve lost ourselves on purpose. He’s still looking for us though we’ve gone. Then of course when the son returns the father calls everyone to celebrate and restores the son as before. No penitence was required. The father didn’t even let the son say the words he’d rehearsed to be a servant since he wasn’t worthy anymore to be called a son. Father said nothing doing. You’re my son, welcome home.

We tend to think that we are on the hunt for Jesus. The truth is he’s on the hunt for us. The coin could do nothing but be found. The sheep couldn’t return on his own. He had to be found since he didn’t know the way back. The son, though he needed to return, had to be looked for so he’d know how loved he was. He knew we couldn’t do it in our own strength. Jesus alone could. He loves you with an everlasting love and will be relentless until he finds you no matter how you became lost. And if you’re the prodigal he’s promised in his word that when you search for him you’ll find him when you search with all your heart. He’s already looking for you. When he finds you what a great celebration will be had by all!

By Jaime Luce