I’m currently working through the Psalm 23 study by Jennifer Rothschild & LifeWay. I highly recommend it! This week, we’re breaking down the 4th verse in the famous passage, “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.” This comes on the heels of the comfort and peace of green pastures and still waters which is exactly how it happens in life, unexpected and out of nowhere.
I’ve heard Psalm 23 so many times but when I realized I’d be studying the ‘valley’, my chest immediately tightened and I felt the familiar weakness in my stomach that comes when I think about my personal ‘valley of the shadow of death’. For those of you that don’t know, I lost my parents 7 years ago, horrifically-on the same day. God carried me through that time valiantly, so I know that he can carry me through anything!
I’m in the middle of another valley season right now. I’m tired, I’m weary and if I’m being honest, sometimes I hold my breath in fear of what could happen. I don’t know what the other side of the valley will look like. I don’t know if what I think is best will be. I’ve cried and prayed so much over the past few weeks, but when I questioned God about it, he was silent.
One day in the middle of an emotional prayer, I realized something…
I don’t have to understand and that healing doesn’t come from knowing all the answers, it comes from knowing God.
The story of Abraham and Issac popped into my head. Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love-Issac-and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.” Genesis 22:2
I knew what God was saying. Trust him, put my situation on the altar and give him room to move. If you’re walking through a valley right now, he’s asking the same of you.
Is it scary? For sure! Giving God total control of our lives and our circumstances is petrifying! But we can’t let what we’re going through take God off the throne in our hearts. We have to trust him. There’s a tangible freedom that comes when we lay our burdens at the foot of the cross. It’s not easy because we have to let go but God would never ask us to trust him if he didn’t already have a ram in the thicket! OH YEAH! (If you don’t understand the ram reference, read Genesis 22:13!)
3 Things We Can Do While We Wait
- PRAY. Prayer plants a seed. While the fruit is growing, God is working different angles and miracles that we can’t see. It’s not just about the person or thing we’re praying about, prayer changes us, too!
- PRAISE. When praise goes up, glory comes down! We are called to live by faith-not by sight. When we praise God in the valley it activates faith inside us. Faith will give us the hope that will carry us to the other side of the valley.
- REST. There’s nothing we can do to change things or make the time go by faster so let’s settle in and rest. While we rest, let’s remember what God has done for us in the past and that he does all things for our good and for his glory-WE CAN TRUST HIM!
(Psalm 46:10-11) “Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth. The Lord God is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.” Thank you, Father for this reminder!
We Will Stand Firm On The Promises
When what we see tells us we should give up and that there’s no hope-we have to refuse it! Instead, we will pray, praise, rest and wait for God to lead us out of the valley because he always will.
If you’re struggling to find hope and think that the valley will destroy you, hang on to this scripture with me…
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.” (Isaiah 43:2) Hallelujah!!!
Sweet friend, listen to me… I’m in the waiting with you, and we’re gonna make it! I believe that God allows us to walk through valleys in life, not only to strengthen us and our trust in Him but so we can be a strength for others, too. It’s a part of life we can’t escape but if we lean in to what God wants to teach us in the valley, we’ll see radiant beauty and purpose in the middle of our darkest days. We can’t give up!
If you’re on the other side of the valley, I’d love to hear your testimony! What has God done for you and what scriptures carried you through?