I read a story recently about a pastor in West Virginia. The little town he lived in was situated in a long, narrow valley – a pretty dark valley. The sun didn’t rise high enough to shine on that town until mid-morning so it was dark for quite a while each day. This pastor said the town itself was kind of a dingy, dirty place. It was the kind of place where you often battle “feeling down.” This young pastor loved to go up on the mountain that overlooked the valley, and from up there, he said the view was beautiful. He said even the town looked good from up there!
When you can get above the valley, that panoramic view makes everything look different. If you’re spending some time in your own valley right now, that may be something you need to remember. There’s a simple six-letter word that represents that view from the mountain that changes how everything looks.
The word I’m thinking of is found in the Word of God in Psalm chapter 8 beginning in verse1: “O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth. You have set Your glory above the heavens. From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise because of your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger. When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him?”
Did you catch the word that changes the view? The word is praise. Praise is focusing on the size of your God instead of the size of your problems. It is one way of reminding yourself of the great things God is to you and the great things He has done for you. Praise is celebrating Who is really in charge of the circumstances of our lives. Praise actually has the power to “silence the foe and the avenger.” If that refers to Satan, you need to know that Satan can’t stand to be around you when you are praising your Lord.
Praise takes away the negative attitudes and the discouragement that the devil loves to work with. Discouragement and depression can be “foes” and “avengers” in our lives. The darkness of the valley often causes us to succumb to our dark side, to emotional paralysis, or to giving up, until we make the choice to climb up the mountain that takes us above all that – Praise Mountain. You may not feel like praising God, you probably don’t – that’s when you need to praise God the most. Praise is a conscious choice to begin focusing on Him rather than on your circumstances.
Start celebrating the many ways God has worked over the months and years. Look at the progress you’ve made – at how far you’ve come, not just how far you still have to go. Thank God for the things that didn’t happen that could have happened. Praise Him for places you can see Him working in just the last 24 hours in spite of your difficulties. Start talking up the qualities you love about the Lord, the qualities that you’re counting on to get you through right now.
When you’re in the valley, and you’re looking only at what’s right in front of you, you’re going to just get overwhelmed and discouraged but as you start to look at your valley from the mountain of praising God, everything will look different. You can have that awesome view anytime you choose to get out of the valley.