I once heard a friend as he was teaching make a statement that has proven true over and over again in my life. He said, “Between the mountain of promise and the mountain of provision is the valley of preparation.” Ponder that statement a few moments before you read further.
God always gives his kids promises. Those pledges of assurance are often found in the pages of his written word or in the whispered voice of the Holy Spirit. There are certain promises that are common to all of us and others that are tailored specifically just for you or me. Once God gives a promise, his intention is to fulfill it. Often as he gives the promise, he will give us a little glimpse of its provision—what that fulfillment will actually appear as. Our problem as we view those two mountain tops is our depth perception.
Have you ever stood on a mountain top and looked at another peak? From the top of the mountain, all the other peaks look amazingly close. That’s because our depth perception from that perspective is skewed. Everything looks closer from the mountain top—the reason is that’s God’s perspective. But once we climb down the mountain to pursue our provision for the promise we’ve received, our perception changes and we realize the valley between the two pinnacles is farther than we thought.
This distance between the promise and its provision is called the valley of preparation. The problem is not with God, his promise, or his provision. The problem is we are not quite ready for what God wants to do in or through us. So, the valley of preparation is where we are carefully fitted to make the daring ascent to the summit of our promised provision.
The journey is often arduous and hard. It is sometimes called the desert, the wilderness, or the fiery furnace. Yet, it is through this journey that we learn perseverance and obedience, both of which will serve us well sometime in the very near future. It is here on this journey that God unpacks the backpack we packed on the climb down the mountain of promise. We tend to stuff every crack and crevice of our knapsack with items of flesh we think we need instead of the things of the Spirit. Thus, God is forced to force us to let each one go. The reason—those things will kill us once we begin the steep climb up toward the provision of God’s promise. To gain the provision of the promise we must climb in the power of the Spirit. Too much flesh and too little Spirit is a recipe for a stupid slip and a deadly fall.
Perhaps you are crossing this valley right now. If so, pay attention to the carefully marked path God has set before you. Lighten up your load at every opportunity and keep putting one step in front of the other. God will show you what you need to extricate and abandon—obey. Push on even when you want to quit—persevere. The scenery will change and the mountain in the distance will soon be within your grasp.
By the way—just a warning as you traverse this valley. You will see the devil somewhere along the way thumbing for a ride—that I can guarantee. But listen closely, whatever you do, don’t pick him up. He never wants to ride, he always wants to drive. If he gets a grip on the steering wheel, who knows where you will end up.