God of the Hills, Not Just the Valleys

Jonathon M. Seidl

June 15, 2023 | 3 minute read

I remember the first time I heard the song. 

I was driving in my car and a beautiful piano started playing. Not long after, this guy I had never heard of started singing. The words that came out of his mouth were like a torrential downpour on my dry-cracked soul: 

On the mountain, I will bow my life

To the one who set me there

In the valley I will lift my eyes to the one who sees me there

When I'm standing on the mountain I didn't get there on my own

When I'm walking through the valley I know I am not alone!

You're God of the hills and valleys

Hills and Valleys

God of the hills and valleys

And I am not alone

While beautiful, those words are also convicting. They are the words to the chorus of “Hills and Valleys” by Tauren Wells. It’s a song that I have come back to time and time again over the last six years, and the message is one I think we all need to not only hear but also embrace. 

In the end, that message is simple: God isn’t just a spare tire we’re supposed to hide away in the trunk until we get a flat. He’s not a backup plan. A rebound. He’s not a mere safety net we can employ when we try to perform some life stunt and fail. He is and must be our everything, not our side thing. 

I’m saying that for me as much as you right now. One of my biggest struggles doesn’t have to do with turning to God when things are bad. In some ways I find that “easy.” When I feel like I can’t go on, I find myself praying a lot more. When I don’t know where to turn, I find myself reaching out to him. When I don’t have direction, I ask him to light the way. 

But when things are going well? That’s a different story. 

When I’m absolutely crushing it as a dad and husband, or my business is thriving, or my book sales are soaring or health is perfect – in those times, I tend to relegate God to assistant coach. I take on the role of head coach and general manager. I take the credit. I approach the game of life like I have the game plan, and if I get tossed out of the game by life’s referee, well, then God can step in and take over. But until then, I’m running the show. 

Does that sound familiar? Even if maybe it’s not that extreme, I think many of us at minimum tend to skip a lot of the “God stuff” when we’re sitting in the fast lane of life on cruise control, not a worry in the world watching the trees pass by as we stick our hand out the window. 

In other words, when things are going smoothly, we kind of forget about God. We stop asking for his help, stop looking for his guidance. We say, "Hey God, I got this. I’ll see you when I need you." 

Then life happens, because it always happens. We get sick. We lose our job. We lose a loved one. We can’t make sense of what someone said to us. We don’t know how we’re going to make rent or the mortgage. Then? Well, then we’re suddenly all about him. We cry out, beg for help, and wonder why we’re going through this – whatever “this” is. 

So why do we do that? Why do we assign God a more significant role when we are down in the valley but relegate him to a minor one when we are standing on the mountaintop?

I think a lot of it comes down to our nature as human beings – humans who constantly miss the mark (which is what sin is). Our fallen nature tends to want to use people for what they can give us. It’s the same with God. We tend to want what He has created over the actual creator. And when we get it? Well, instead of being thankful, that human nature can trick us into thinking it’s because of what we have done, not what He has done. 

So here’s where I want to challenge all of us. We need to stop making God our Plan B. He's not our backup. Instead, He's our foundation. Yes, He’s the light in the dark valley, but He’s also the sturdy ground we stand on when we're at the peak. 

This is where we need to follow the lead of the biblical book of Psalms. That book contains numerous examples of the author praising God simply for who He is. Not just for what He’s done, but for who He is. I want you to practice that this week. Practice praising God simply for who He is. Simply for being God. Not even for what He’s done. Remember, God isn't just the God of the good times or the bad times, He's the God of all times. 

So in those moments when you feel on top of the world, remember who gave you the mountain. Thank him. Praise him. Be vocal about it. Yes, call out to him in the valleys. But be just as thankful for him when you’re on the top of the mountain and recognize that He’s the one who got you there in the first place. 

Because in the end, He’s the God of the hills and not just the valleys.


Jonathon M. Seidl

Jonathon M. Seidl

Jonathon M. (Jon) Seidl is a writer, speaker, and digital media strategist. He’s the author of the #1 bestseller, Finding Rest: A Survivor’s Guide to Navigating the Valleys of Anxiety, Faith, and Life.

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