Cape Verde-Photo by: Mark J Booth
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us.” (A Tale of Two Cities: By Charles Dickens)
These words by Dickens can typify the valleys that we face in our lives. We can say with Dickens that the valley is the worst of times, but it is also the best of times. It is an anxious time. It is a comforting time. It is a time of sorrow. It is a time of joy. It is a time of discouragement. It is a time of encouragement. It is time of confusion. It is a time of direction. It is a time of silence from God. It is a time of closeness with God.
The valley is a place of contradictions. If our lives were without valleys, there would be very little spiritual growth. The valleys expose our need for God. The valleys expose the many things that need to be changed in our lives. The valleys teach us faith. Though the valley may not pleasant, there are many verses that bring refreshment to us as we go through the valley. These verses have refreshed me as I have traveled through a valley.
1. GOD IS WITH ME “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.” (Psalm 23:4)
In life we often face very dark valleys. How can we keep going as we travel through a valley filled with the unknown, with dangers, and with pain of heart? The loneliness of the valley can become suffocating. There is no one who understands. There is no one to help us get through this rough patch. However, David understood that the Lord’s presence is with us even in the darkest valley of all, death. God never forsakes His children. Though we don’t see Him, we know that he is with us every step of the way as walk through the dark valley.
A Prayer “Dear Lord, as I walk through a very dark valley. I don’t know how long I will be here in this valley, but I know that you are with me. You are teaching me. You are guiding me. You are comforting me. You are walking alongside me enabling me to enjoy your presence. Please enable me to honor you while I am walking through this valley. I love you, My Shepherd. Thank you for loving me. Amen”
2. GOD DOESN’T CHANGE. “For I am the Lord, I change not.” (Malachi 3:6)
Changes are reality in life. We change. People change. Our surroundings change; Our circumstances change. Our life can often feel like a boat adrift in the ocean; yet amidst the uncertainties of life, God doesn’t change! His Salvation, His Word, His love, His mercy, His comfort, His faithfulness, His holiness never change. These unchangeable truths give us hope as we trod through the valley. Yes, our world may be changing before our eyes, but God never changes.
3. GOD STRENGTHENS ME. “Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed:for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.” (Joshua 1:9)
We need strength and courage for what lies ahead. The path before us looks impossible to tread. We feel tired. We lack sleep. We are emotionally and spiritually exhausted. We want to quit. We think we can’t go one step further. Where can we find the strength and courage to continue moving forward? The same strength and courage that Joshua found from God before crossing the Jordan River and confronting Jericho is available to us.
A Prayer “Dear Lord, the path before me seems filled with difficulties and dangers. I feel tired. I don’t know how much further I can go. I have lost the will to continue in the struggle; however, I thank you for your presence. I thank you for giving me the strength and courage to go forward. Amen
4. GOD IS MY FOCUS. “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.” (Hebrews 12:3) “
Have you ever found yourself so engrossed in a situation that all you can do is think about it? There is little sleep.There is little peace. There is little joy. What are we to do? When we take our eyes off of the situation and place them upon Jesus, our perspective becomes totally different. When we focus upon the people who may have placed us in this valley, we start to become like them. When we place our eyes upon Jesus, we become more like Him.
There is no wisdom in myself, but in you.
There is no compassion in myself, but in you.
There is no courage in myself, but in you.
There is no peace in myself, but in you.
There is no joy in myself, but in you.
Thank you, Lord, for always being with me, so that when I look to you, you are always there. Amen.
5. GOD IS MY BELOVED (Deuteronomy 33:27) “The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.”
The valley can be a place of opposition. You may feel unloved. You may feel alone. This is a time to remember God’s everlasting arms are waiting to embrace and draw you unto Himself. Like a child runs into the arms of a loving parent, We also can run into the arms of our loving Father. The valley produces great needs in our life. As a result of our needs our love increases for the Lord.
A Prayer: “Dear Lord, I come to you whose arms are wide open. I need you to embrace me and hold me tight because:
I need your love.
I need your comfort.
I need your understanding.
I need your peace.
I need your wisdom.
I need your forgiveness.
Thank you for always being ready to embrace me when I come to you with a broken and contrite heart. Amen”
6. GOD IS MY DELIGHT. “Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.” (Psalm 37:4)
In spite of situations that are not delightful, we can still delight in the Lord. When we delight in the Lord, He will change our desires to match HIs desires. Delighting in the Lord will enable us to find peace and joy in the midst of the valley.
God’s Word has always brought comfort to His people. These verses have brought comfort to me in the midst of my valley. May you find comfort in them as you travel through your valley.