She has always known me best, this best friend of mine. For years she has picked out my music, recommended some of my favorite authors and sent me gifts I cherish. The retro journal. The cigar box purse. The necklace with the chieftain, the turquoise cross and the words create and inspire – all a nod to my home and my heart.
So, when I opened her latest box and saw the book of Puritan prayers, I knew.
I knew if Ang had mailed it to me, I needed to read it.
And so I began.
The preface tells me the “strength of Puritan character and life lay in the practice of prayer and meditation.” Often they wrote down their prayers and devotions, scribbled down what God was doing in their souls. And when difficult times came, when their faith was tested, they read and they remembered all that God had done.
Then, the editor, the late Arthur Bennett, shares “The Valley of Vision,” the prayer that stopped me from turning the next page. The prayer that won’t let me go.
LORD, HIGH AND HOLY, MEEK AND LOWLY, it begins. Let me learn by paradox, it pleads.
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 is the place of vision.
I’ve never pushed vision and valley together in my mind. Maybe that’s the whole point. The paradox.
I imagine vision comes on the mountaintop, where all can be seen and celebrated. But maybe vision has its place in the valley, like light in the darkness. Maybe, when difficult times come, vision is more important than ever. Maybe vision is what pulls us to the next mountaintop.
Or maybe, when we’re at our lowest, the only way to look is up. No distractions to the left. No distractions to the right. Only up. Only God.
And maybe that is the clearest way to see.
What do you think about the valley being a place of vision? How do you interpret that?