The Valley of Vision

Nanci and I love The Valley of Vision, which is a collection of brief and profound Puritan prayers compiled by Arthur Bennett (I love the leather edition linked to. It’s one of the few books worthy of having in leather!). We find them powerful and penetrating.

If you haven’t discovered the Puritans, I highly recommend that you do. They speak with an amazing biblically-based depth. They have been stereotyped as legalistic and impersonal and believing in an impersonal God, but in many hours of reading them I believe nothing could be further from the truth! While writing my book on happiness I was struck again and again with the Puritans’ belief in a happy God who called them to a life of happiness in Jesus.

They are a great corrective to the health and wealth gospel, in that they endured great suffering but trusted the God of sovereign grace and His providence and personal love and provision. This is the first entry in the book, but what follows is just as good:

The Valley of Vision

Lord, high and holy, meek and lowly, Thou hast brought me to the valley of vision,
where I live in the depths but see thee in the heights; hemmed in by mountains of sin I behold thy glory.

Let me learn by paradox
that the way down is the way up,
that to be low is to be high,
that the broken heart is the healed heart, that the contrite spirit is the rejoicing spirit, that the repenting soul is the victorious soul, 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.

Lord, in the daytime stars can be seen from deepest wells, and the deeper the wells the brighter thy stars shine;
Let me find thy light in my darkness, thy life in my death,
thy joy in my sorrow, thy grace in my sin,
thy riches in my poverty thy glory in my valley. 

photo credit: Theophilos Papadopoulos via photopin(license)

Randy Alcorn (@randyalcorn) is the author of over sixty books and the founder and director of Eternal Perspective Ministries