“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 (KJV)
Father in Jesus Name, I pray that You use this moment to instill wisdom, knowledge and understanding deep within me to the point where it changes my life and the lives of those around me in a godly way. I thank You for that in Jesus Name! AMEN!
Life is filled with valleys and mountain-top experiences and while we covet and desire the mountaintops the truth is, they valleys last longer and are more frequent. What do we do with these valley experiences, when life seems to have stepped on our toes and left us incapable of walking and moving forward? It’s not always “why” it happened that is so important as to “how” to respond to what happened. In our mind as Christians we try to rationalize why we are here, so we feel as though we are “still in control.” We think about our life and inwardly think “this sin” is why I am here or “it’s because I didn’t forgive when God convicted me and showed me unforgiveness the first time” or maybe it’s because “I didn’t do “that” when I had the chance.” Sometimes the valley isn’t even the problem; it’s our mind wandering when we are in it. The truth is, God leads us into the valley. God works in the valley. God uses the valley and He is the God of the Valley.
David went into this loved Psalm talking about how God was leading him through his life, but then he takes a twist and says “yea thou I walk through the valley.” Interested in life, we think if God is leading, why the valley? Is there something we can learn about the valley? The truth of the matter is, yes, there are many things we learn in the valley that we don’t learn out of it. Some sides of God will never be revealed until we end up in the valleys of life. As a matter of fact our relationship with God can’t grow as we desire until we realize He is the God of the valley. David knew about valleys, he faced a giant named Goliath in a valley. The Bible says as David was walking down to fight Goliath “he took his staff in his hand, and chose him five smooth stones out of the brook, and put them in a shepherd's bag which he had” (1 Samuel 17:40) David found five things in the valley and one was used to kill a giant.
The Goliath of our life IS life, but while we are in this valley with this giant, what can I use, what can I pick up in the valley to fight this giant? Here are five things you pick up in the valley…!
1) Spiritual Growth and Development – The valleys of life bring spiritual growth and development as a matter of fact most of our valleys probably are there to develop us. God desires for us to change lives, He desires to do that, but He needs us to cooperate with His desires. In the valley sometimes we realize that God is more important than my will and desires and from there God changes us and develops us and we begin to grow others knowingly and unknowingly. Your valley brings spiritual development and growth. It’s invaluable, there’s no price you can put on spiritual growth, examine your growth and praise God for the growth in the valley.
2) Faith in God’s Word and Promises – Sometimes without the trials of our life we would never truly reach out to God. When we get in trouble, whether it being our fault or not we run to God. When trouble persists, we CLING to God. There is a difference. When problems stay longer than desired they train us to depend on God. The Bible says that we are to train up children in the way they should go and they won’t depart as they get older. (Proverbs 22:6) It’s funny, sometimes we read that and think that it’s for parents only, but it’s also what God does with us. Our valleys teach us to have more faith in God’s Word and Promises. Think of where you are and praise God for the newfound and strengthened faith in God’s Word and Promises.
3) A Passion for Christ that is Willing and Able to Face ANY Odds – Without a valley in our life, usually we don’t recognize the passion we have for Christ. Immediately when we become a Christian God reveals the passion that we have. We often quote “As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God.” (Psalm 42:1-2a) In the valley we begin to realize “that is already there.” Everyone in the world has a passion for Christ that is a Christian; we just have flesh that dominates that passion. In the valley we realize that we have a spiritual hunger that can’t be satisfied with fleshly and lustful desires. It’s in the valley that we realize that “this doesn’t satisfy me” as we look at some of our actions. God prunes us and cleanses us in the valley. Thank God for the passion for Christ that is already in you as you are being cleansed in the valley.
4) Freedom – When we come into a valley, sometimes we are terrified and fear is a stronghold that captivates a majority of us. Sometimes the valley that we face is actually the thing we feared the most and through that valley experience God frees us from fear. We sit and stare looking at our greatest fear as it becomes our reality and God begins to free us from that deep fear in our heart. God begins to free us from fear. While we say “David didn’t fear Goliath” we probably embellish a bit when we say that, we forget that all the people of the Bible were just that, human. The same thoughts we think went into David’s mind “what if…?” “Why don’t they help me…?” Inwardly, we have natural fears, but through going into the valley we realize we also have spiritual victory and spiritual realities. God uses the valley to free us from that which keeps us bound. Who knew David who went into a valley with a passion for God; a faith in His Word and Promises would develop spiritually and be freed from things that only David knew of.
There is also one more thing, the very thing that you will need to knock down the Goliath called “life.”
5) A Genuine Love for God – No doubt that in order to fight, overcome and have victory over the giant of life, we have to have a genuine love for God. Many of us quote “And all things work together for good” but we forget “to them that LOVE GOD.” (Romans 8:28) and Jesus Himself said we should love God more than anything. (Mark 12:30) Jesus said that was the greatest commandment, in other words “this is the most important thing in the world.” God creates in us a deep love for Him in the valley. It’s in the valley where we realize, “God, I am tempted to go back to sin, to go back to my ex, to go back to drugs and drinking, but I want to stay with you.” True love is revealed in tough times, it’s not revealed on the wedding day, it’s revealed when the wedding day is threatened and wondered “was it worth it.” It’s in the valley that our love for God grows that enables us to have victory over life, not that defeat, falls and failure won’t come, but the assurance that “all things work together for good” because I LOVE GOD.
Father in Jesus Name, Lord, I come to You thankful that You are my Savior and Lord. God, You haven’t failed me even when I feel like You have and wonder where You are. Lord, You are with me in the valley and You see where I am. Holy Spirit, fill me and use me for Your Kingdom and glory. Father, create a deep sense of peace in this valley I am in and let me surrender it to You. Father, create a love for You, develop me spiritually, grow my faith, free me from things I can’t see and show me how to follow the passion for Christ that is already in me in this season. Lord, I thank You for helping me overcome the flesh and self-life through this valley in Jesus Name I glorify You for this work You are doing that is so valuable that one day I will honestly say “thank You for that valley” in Jesus Name! AMEN!