Being in the valley of trials stinks. It's painful, disorienting, and confusing. As we stagger and stumble along we often wonder, Where is God? Why is he allowing me to go through this? We feel stuck and broken, like we can't move forward. We are perplexed, crushed, weighed down, and in the dark. We move ahead slowly, groping and grasping, hoping to find a handhold.
The reality is, however, that God often does his best work in the darkness. As senior demon Screwtape says to junior demon Wormwood in The Screwtape Letters:
Now it may surprise you to learn that in His efforts to get permanent possession of a soul, he relies on the troughs [low points, valleys, etc.] even more than the peaks; some of his special favourites have gone through longer and deeper troughs than anyone else.
God does not throw trials at us haphazardly, like an angry fan throwing a beer bottle at a baseball player. He does not accidentally let trials slip into our lives, like an absent-minded babysitter. No, God deliberately leads us into the furnace of trials for very specific reasons. He does not waste suffering. He is not a sadist who derives sick pleasure from inflicting pain on his helpless creatures. Every trial we experience has been hand crafted by God for our good. Trials are God's kiln. We are the clay, he is the master potter.