Psalms 4:1 – Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness: thou hast enlarged me when I was in distress; have mercy upon me, and hear my prayer.
Psalms 23:4 – Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
A Christian’s best growth is when he is in distress. A Christian rarely grows on the mountain top. If you have ever been on a high mountain above 12,000 feet, one thing you notice right away is a growth line where the trees start to get thin. Eventually the higher you go, the more it starts to look like a desert. That is because it is cold and somewhat dry. This is the exact opposite of the valley at the bottom of the mountain. All the water runs downhill, the soil is fertile and it is usually warm and well watered. Things grow well down there.
We as Christians grow best in the valley too. It is when we go through the valley of the shadow of death, we die to self. When we die to self, the Lord is magnified, if and only if, we go to him and seek him during these trials. He is enlarged in our life. When Christ is enlarged, he is most important, really the only thing, that matters in our life. When you get to the point Christ is all you need, God in return begins to bless the Christian and a little rest may be in order on the mountain top.
However, you don’t want to spend too much time up there. The air is kind of thin and it can affect your thinking and disorient you. The moutain top should be for refreshing, not for living. Most good Christian living is “just plain vanilla” as Vance Havner used to say. There are not many special experiences in a normal Christian life. At some point in life, we are going to approach that valley of the shadow death. You need to have a close walk with God now so when that day hits in your life or a loved ones life you are ready for it. When that time comes, the Christian with a close walk with God will have nothing to fear. God will comfort him and he will just grow more and more in the valley like he has his whole life. Be sure you are working toward that valley. We are all headed to the grave.