Some of my dearest friends are going through times of grief and pain. They have recently lost loved ones through painful chronic diseases, unexpected illnesses, miscarriage, and tragic accidents. Some have been betrayed by those closest to them. They have experienced pain and uncertainty and confusion and rejection. We all know that this has been a dark time for many people, and their losses have touched me more deeply than ever before.
Yesterday I was reading in one of my favorite books, The Valley of Vision, and updated the wording of the introductory prayer for myself, my friends who are experiencing such loss, and all who yearn to see God display his glory in and through our lives.
The Valley of Vision*
Lord, high and holy, meek and lowly, you have brought me to the valley of vision, The place where I live now, in the depths, but see you in the heights. Here I am hemmed in by mountains of suffering, Caused by sin or loss or pain or bereavement or confusion, And yet here – when I look up - I see your glory.
Let me learn by the “upside down” ways of your kingdom That the way down is the way up, That to be low is to be high, That the broken heart is the healed heart, That the humbled spirit is the rejoicing spirit, That the repenting soul is the victorious soul, That to have nothing is to possess all, That to bear the cross is to wear the crown, That to give is to receive, That the valley, In spite of and because of all our suffering, Is the place of vision.
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. Let me find your life in my death. Let me find your joy in my sorrow. Let me find your grace in my sin. Let me find your riches in my poverty. Let me find your glory in my valley.
* The Valley of Vision: A collection of Puritan prayers and devotions. Ed. Arthur Bennett. 2003. Carlisle, PA: The Banner of Truth Trust, p. xxiv-xxv.