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Friday, April 7, 2023

Valleys Are a Part of Life

In Psalm 23:4 I read, “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” (NIV)

In Israel, on the road from Jerusalem to Jericho, there’s a canyon called the Valley of the Shadow of Death. In his day, King David probably traveled through it many times. Some of the canyons along the road to Jericho were narrow at the bottom and as tall as 800 feet. The only time you could see sunshine at the bottom was at noon when the sun was straight overhead. In the Bible, valleys are often a metaphor for times of darkness, despair, defeat, or discouragement.

Psalm 23:4 reminds me, “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me” (NIV). The Bible teaches that God is not just a part of my mountaintop experiences. He is also with me in the valleys. There are three things I need to keep in mind about the valleys:

First, Valleys are a part of life. The Bible says in Deuteronomy 11:11, “The land you will soon take over is a land of hills and valleys” (NLT).

Secondly, Valleys are inevitable. I likely just came out of a valley, are in the middle of one right now, or are headed into another one. There’s no way to avoid valleys while I’m on this Earth. Instead, I can count on them.

Lastly, Valleys happen to everybody. They’re impartial. Good things happen to bad people, and bad things happen to good people. I live in a fallen and broken world, so I have problems. Nobody’s immune. Nobody’s insulated from pain. Nobody sails through life problem-free.

The Bible says, “The good man does not escape all troubles—he has them too. But the Lord helps him in each and every one” (Psalm 34:19 TLB).

Valleys are unpredictable. I can’t plan them. I can’t time them. Problems typically catch me off guard. In fact, my valleys and my problems usually come at the worst times—when I don’t have time, when I’m unprepared, and when it’s inconvenient. It would be much easier if I could schedule all my valleys when I’m caught up with sleep, in good health, and nobody is bothering you? But life doesn’t work that way. Proverbs 27:1 reminds me, “Don’t brag about tomorrow, since you don’t know what the day will bring” (NLT).

When I know what to expect in the valleys of life, I’ll know how to better prepare for them and keep trusting in God’s presence and provision.