“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.”
There is an old Arab parable that says: All sunshine and no rain makes a desert.” If you never have any down times, dark times, gloomy times in your life you’ll be dried up. You’ll have no depth to yourself, no maturity. It takes good times and bad times to make a well-balanced person. Life is a mixture of pain and pleasure, of victory and defeat, of success and failure, of mountaintops and valleys.
Today we will look at God’s antidote to the Dark Valleys of life.
Even in our darkest valleys, our darkest days, God is there. “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.” I have read 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. 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’
This verse in Hebrew actually means The Valley of Deep Darkness. How do I handle the dark valleys of life?
These are a few things to remember whenever you go through a tough or difficult time:
1. VALLEYS ARE INEVITABLE
They are going to happen so you might as well count on them. You have just come out of a valley, or you’re in one right now, or you’re probably headed toward one. Valleys happen throughout life — one right after another. After every mountain top there is a valley. Jesus was very realistic about it. In John 16, He says, “In the world you will have trouble.” It’s not a matter of if you will ever have trouble, but when. It’s going to happen. You’re going to have difficulty, disappointment, and discouragement at times in your life. There will be times of suffering, sorrow, sadness, and sickness. There will be times of frustration, failure, and fatigue. They are going to happen. They are a normal part of life. Don’t be surprised by it. Please don’t shoot the messenger. I am just being realistic about life.
2. VALLEYS ARE UNPREDICTABLE
You can’t plan them, time them, or schedule them. Valleys are always unexpected. They usually come at the worst time — when you don’t have time, when you’re unprepared. Have you ever had a flat tire at a good time? They just happen. And usually when you least need them and it’s most inconvenient. It might be nice if we could schedule our down times in life. You just can’t plan life like that. Valleys come suddenly. They are unpredictable. Have you noticed how easily a good day can become a bad day?
A phone call, a letter, a routine doctor’s check-up, a freak accident. Valleys just happen. Jeremiah 4:20 “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. Everybody has problems. Problems, trials, difficulties, disturbances, downtimes, depression doesn’t mean you’re a bad person. It means you’re a real person. It just means you’re a human being. It seems clear that good and bad things happen to all people. Valleys are impartial. They don’t care how good or bad you are.
Matthew 5:45 Jesus said, “It rains on the just and the unjust too.” When we go through a difficult time — a valley in life — the first reaction is always “Why me?” Yet really you should ask “Why not me?” Do you think you should be exempt from all the problems everybody else has to go through? Do you think you should be the only one in the universe that never has a tragedy, a loss, looses a loved one? Instead of saying “Why me?” just realize it’s going to happen because you’re a human being. Remember this is not heaven. Things are not perfect here and there are problems and difficulties. They are going to happen in life — to good people, to Christians, to everybody. Disasters and tragedies happen to all of us.