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  • Writer's pictureAnnie

Walking Through the Valley of the Shadow of Death

We all experience seasons of this throughout life to differing degrees. Sometimes it is short-lived, and other times it feels like it lasts for an eternity. I'll be honest and tell you that prior to a couple of years ago, my "valley experiences" were rather small and simple; life seemed to be easy and relatively happy. So when I began walking through a valley that just seemed to get darker and darker, I struggled. I really struggled. The valley affected my mental health, my physical health, and my faith. It was fairly easy to keep the mental struggle hidden, at least for a while. But once a valley begins to consume your life, it's hard to hide it, and that's a good thing. Too often we try and hide our valleys, but it is in those times that we need others more than ever. Hiding in your pain does not help you heal from it. As I have walked through a severe health issue, I can't tell you how many times people have told me that they are praying for me, or have sent me a message of encouragement. It makes a difference; having community makes a difference. No one should walk through darkness alone.

"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." -Psalm 23:4

A valley can be defined as "an area of low land between hills or mountains, often with a river running through it" (Cambridge English Dictionary). I really like that valleys often have a river running through them because water brings life. If you were physically walking through a valley, it would be easy to get tired and worn out and thirsty, so drinking water would help bring life to your flesh. In John 7:37-39 Jesus says, "'If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, "Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water."' Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive..." When we are spiritually walking through a valley and experiencing tiredness, struggle, and spiritual thirst, we can look to God to satisfy us with the life of His Spirit within us. The valley may be hard, but God will provide us the strength we need to walk through it.

Here are some thoughts on some of the wording used in Psalm 23:4:

- "Even though I walk through the valley... I will fear no evil." Fear is a choice. While it definitely doesn't feel that way because of how powerful it often appears to be, we have the choice of whether we'll trust in it or in God. I think we sometimes get mad at God when we walk through a valley because we've bought into the lie, maybe even subconsciously, that believing in Him means nothing bad/hard should ever happen to us. But we live in a fallen world, and we make bad choices, and others make bad choices, and we have an enemy. Trusting God is saying "Even though I don't want to be here, even though I don't understand what is going on, I know You are good, God, and I trust you to walk beside me through this."

- "Even though I walk through the valley... " The thing about valleys is that they do not last forever. If you are walking through one right now, remember that you are going through it. Don't settle there. Keep walking, one foot in front of the other.

- "Valley of the shadow of death." The valley is a mere shadow of death, not death itself.

- "I will fear no evil for you are with me." The reason we can walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death and be alright is because we have God with us. He is our "refuge and strength, a very present help in times of trouble" (Ps. 46:1). We can take shelter from the darkness of the valley's shadow as we dwell in the shelter of the Most High and take refuge under the shadow of His wings (Ps. 91:1). How beautiful that even when we are in the darkest valley we can take shelter in God, Who lightens our darkness because He Is light.

Understanding that not "feeling" God's presence, in no way indicates His absence, is important. He hears every prayer, catches every tear, and continues to hold your heart even when you are in the darkest of valleys. He is a faithful God who says, "Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you." So I'm making the choice to trust in Him and His faithfulness more than I trust in my feelings or my understanding of a situation. That doesn't mean I have it all figured out, or that I am doing it perfectly, because I definitely am not. It means that I'm trying. It means that I have made the choice to trust God, which is the first step. The first step on a journey to a closer relationship with Him and a more joyful life. This life is hard, but our God is good, so I hope you will make the choice to trust Him too.

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4 commenti

19 set 2022

You are an inspiration to all and a true gift from God, a testimony of our Father's love.

Mi piace

19 set 2022

Very inspiring Annie, thank you, I needed that. That lightened my valley and have me a renewed hope. The Victory is ours. You are in my prayers continually, Shalom my friend, in Christ! Shalom!

Mi piace

18 set 2022

JESUS is LORD! Faith is the victory. We're walking through...

Mi piace

17 set 2022

Excellent insight! thanks

Mi piace
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