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You remember how Greatheart in the Pilgrim describes the Valley of Humiliation as the best and most fruitful land in all those parts, and how that Mercy protested that she was as well in that Valley as she had been anywhere else in all their journey. That is only the old Dreamer’s way of saying that bare and sterile places have often turned out to be “green pastures.” And that is why God “makes us to lie down” in places from which we shrink. That is why He allows loss and trouble and disappointment to befall us. He knows what graces these things and their like beget in the soul, how they breed sympathy and tenderness and humility and dependence on God. They are indeed amongst the richest and most succulent pastures. And so God makes us to lie down in them in spite of ourselves. And later we come to recognize His wisdom. We realize the gain that has come to us. “It was good for me that I was afflicted.” That was a man for whom the wilderness had been changed into the “green pastures.” It is only in retrospect we recognize all this. While we are in the midst of life’s hardnesses and difficulties and trials they may appear to us to be anything but “green pastures.” But when we look back, in the mellow light of life’s evening time, we shall realize we owe some of life’s richest blessings to its troubled times, and shall be ready with David to confess “Thou makest me to lie down in green pastures, thou leadest me beside the still waters.

The King of Love, J D Jones (1922)