“Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.” – Psalm 23:4
Every one of us go through valley experiences in our lives, in fact, these valley experiences are a part of life. But that doesn’t mean we enjoy our stays in the valley. We prefer the mountaintop experiences. We all love being on the mountaintop, a place where we can feel God’s presence. A place where we can clearly hear God’s voice and we are able to follow His leading because it is clear to us. The valley is the complete opposite experience, or is it?
The valley seems very different than the mountaintop. The valley is where life becomes challenging, where battles are fought, relationships strained and economic hardships reside. The valley is the place in life where we struggle everyday with fears, unrealized hopes and painful circumstances. The mountaintop is where we come to meet God; but the valley is where God comes to meet us. We may enjoy God on the mountaintops, but we get to know Him intimately in the valleys.
As we struggle during our time in the valley, David reassures us in Psalm 23 that we can make it through. The reality is, both literally and metaphorically, that after every mountaintop experience there is a valley. In every phase of life you are either going into one, coming out of one, or in the middle of one. Jesus made this very clear to us, “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) ” You will have many trials and sorrows, there will be relationships that are sour, bills that can’t be paid, circumstances that don’t seem fair in the valley. You can’t plan them, you can’t time them, you can’t schedule them and often you can’t manage them. But there is good news. We don’t have to because God is with us. He does not watch over us from outside of the valley, He does not call us from the other side of the valley because He is with us through the valley. And that is the good news.
That’s why David said in the first verse of Psalm 23, “The LORD is my shepherd; I have all that I need.” I have everything I need. “He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams” That suggests a picture of soft, green grass, shaded by a tree and free of all life’s noises. “He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name”
Yes, the valley is where we do our struggling, it is where we have to cry sometimes, and yes the valley is inevitable throughout our journey in life. But it is temporary and God is with us in every valley.
- Was there ever a time in your life when a “valley was followed by a valley” (when troubles kept coming one after another)? What did you do?
- How would knowing God is with us help you find strength in that situation?