Commitment, For Men

Peaks and Valleys: Growth and Triumph

Marriage Peaks and Valleys: Growth and Triumph

“Mountain top experiences”… we’ve all had them. That rush of adrenaline and satisfaction that accompanies our defining moments. In your marriage, peak moments may include your wedding day, the birth of a child, landing a new job, or purchasing your first home.

All “peakers” will know that the peak is usually just the climax of an otherwise long and arduous process. It’s our ultimate place of strength in the journey.

Peaks get all the attention but real growth happens in the gaps between. My awesome mom taught me a few years back: “Mountain tops are great, but you can’t live there. It’s in the valleys where life thrives.”

Consider Psalm 84:5-7:

5 Blessed are those whose strength is in you, in whose heart are the highways to Zion.b
6 As they go through the Valley of Baca they make it a place of springs; the early rain also covers it with pools.

7 They go from strength to strength; each one appears before God in Zion.

In life and in marriage, God allows us to move from strength to strength when we rely on Him. When we find ourselves in life’s inevitable valleys, it’s our time to grow and strengthen for the next peak.

Seeking peaks

Last August I was on a rope team that summited Mt. Rainier to raise money for two families in need. It was literally and figuratively a mountain top experience.

Shortly after our expedition we released a documentary film (included below) that shows the highlights of the trip – the friendships, the laughter, and summit day. The video is inspiring to watch – packed with stunning footage and emotional moments all overlayed with lively music.

What the video doesn’t show is the months of preparation leading up to the climb. Each climber spent countless hours running up hills and scaling lesser peaks. Also, the prep and support-raising efforts were vast. There were hundreds of emails sent, dozens of sponsor calls made (mostly by Jeff and Brad), and hours of planning.

Friends and family celebrated with us from across the country, but none knew the fight like we did. There were many valley moments before the peak.

In our marriages, we must summit many peaks – overcoming disagreements, conquering habits, and building a strong family. These are achievements worth fighting for, but between them we must learn to thrive in the valleys – enjoying and using each one to grow and prepare for our next mountain top.

Valleys: A timeless struggle

Look again at verses 5 & 6:

5 Blessed are those whose strength is in you, in whose heart are the highways to Zion.b
6 As they go through the Valley of Baca they make it a place of springs; the early rain also covers it with pools.

At the beginning of the stanza, it plainly states that our strength should be in the Lord, with the “highways of Zion” in our hearts. Given the context, this is an exhortation for the reader to rely on and wait on God. We must find our strength in God; this is always the first step.

The next verse gets interesting. Where is this “Valley of Baca” and what does it mean? As we know, names in biblical times were packed with meaning.

The name “Baca” is derived from the Hebrew verb “bakah“, which means “to weep bitterly”, or “to sob continually” (source). One commentator also notes that the name may be used in a way to allude to the presence of Mulberry Trees – a plant that grows in barren places despite having no water. Because of the presence of Mulberry Trees, travelers would dig many holes in hopes of finding the water that the trees were using.

The psalmists go on to say that “they make it a place of springs; the early rain also covers it with pools.” The only way to make a spring is to dig very deep. Though the ground above may seem barren, springs of water may be found deep below the surface. Additionally, only rain could fill the numerous holes to create pools.

Be refreshed and strengthened

Here’s the point: When we are traversing valleys of our own – dry, desolate, and weeping – we can patiently wait on the Lord, find strength in him, and dig deeper.  When we “dig” deep into God’s word and into His rest, we will find refreshment. With God’s help, we can truly make the driest valleys “a place of springs“!

And while we dig, God will take care of us when he brings “early rain“. The situations which are out of our control are in God’s hands, just like the rain. “The early rain” will fall on the hole-filled land and make pools where we can be refreshed.

In marriage, we face many valleys that feel like the Valley of Baca. As long as we find our strength in Him first while waiting patiently and digging, we will surely find ourselves in a place of springs and pools of water.

Find your next peak and start climbing

Perhaps you feel like you’re marriage is in a perpetual Valley of Baca. Just remember that it’s your time to seek God like never before, placing your faith and strength in Him.

Perhaps you and your spouse are staring up at a looming peak in your marriage – it may be a circumstance, an irreconcilable difference, or unfaithfulness. Gather your strength in Christ, dig deep, and be refreshed by Him. Then start climbing! The climb will be challenging, and you will experience pain, but with His power you can move on to your next strength.

They go from strength to strength; each one appears before God in Zion”.

Questions:
How have you seen God provide refreshment in your valleys?
What peaks can you begin climbing in your marriage?
Please let us know in the comments below!

Our Mt. Rainier Summit Documentary

Shot and edited by 5 Mile Films and Bradley Castaneda.

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