GROWING THROUGH DARK VALLEYS
Psalm 23:4 "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me."
Did you know that in Israel there is a real Valley of the Shadow of Death. It's a steep, deep and narrow canyon. The sun only hits the bottom of it when it's directly overhead at high noon. The rest of the time the bottom of the canyon is dark. David probably led his sheep through the valley of the shadow of death as he was growing up. Maybe that’s why he wrote about it and related it to life.
As you look in the Bible, the term "valley" also refers to all kinds of rough times in life.
-Joshua talks about the “Valley of Calamity.”
-Psalm 84 talks about the “Valley of Weeping.”
-Hosea talks about the “Valley of Trouble.”
How do I handle the dark valleys of life? There are five facts about valleys that you need to remember whenever you go through a tough time:
WHAT TO REMEMBER IN DARK VALLEYS:
1. VALLEYS ARE INEVITABLE
They are going to happen so you might as well count on them. I didn’t say “look forward to them,” I said “count on them.” Jesus was very realistic about it.
John 16:33 (NIV) "In the world you will have trouble."
2. VALLEYS ARE UNPREDICTABLE
You can't plan them, time them or schedule them. Valleys are always unexpected. Have you ever had a flat tire at a good time? They just happen. Have you noticed how easily a good day can become a bad day?
A phone call, a text,
a routine doctor's check-up,
unexpected news from your boss
a freak accident.
Jeremiah 4:20 (LB) "Disaster follows disaster... In an instant my tents are destroyed, my shelter falls in a moment.""
3. VALLEYS ARE IMPARTIAL
No one is immune to them.
No one is insulated from pain and sorrow.
No one gets to skate through life problem-free.
Matthew 5:45 "It rains on the just and the unjust too."
Remember this is not heaven. Things are not perfect here and there are problems and difficulties. But wait, I have some GOOD NEWS for you:
4. VALLEYS ARE TEMPORARY
They have an end to them. They don't last. They are not a permanent location. David says, "Even though I walk through the valley..." The valley is not something you stay in your entire life. It's something you go through - a circumstance, a situation that has a season to it. When you're in a valley you often think it's a dead end, but it's not. It's like a tunnel - there is a beginning and end.
I Peter 1:6 (LB) "There is a wonderful joy ahead, even though the going is rough for a while down here."
He's talking about Heaven. There are no problems in heaven, no valleys, no dark days. If you know the Lord Jesus Christ, that's where you're going.
5. VALLEYS ARE PURPOSEFUL
I Peter 1:6-7 (PH)"At the present you may be temporarily harassed by all kinds of trials, this no accident - it happens to prove your faith..."
BOTTOM LINE: God wants to build your faith in the valleys of life.
We love to enjoy the mountain tops, but you don't build faith on the mountain tops. You build faith in the valleys of life. Every problem has a purpose. God can teach you character. He wants to change you, mature you.
Pastor Fernando Villicana
Fire Service Chaplain