Right now at this very moment, I am in a “valley”, yet even here I know He is with me more than ever before.
Some might think a valley is a bad place to be; often the path ahead is dark and appears to lead nowhere, large mountains stand on both sides and then the sun no longer shines. Darkness and despair set in. Where once there was the ability to see the horizon, all I see now is what’s immediately before me…. but maybe that’s the point. Maybe that’s all He wants me to see; maybe I need to be here before I can see the next horizon. Maybe I need Him now, more than ever?
Truthfully, I know right now I am exactly where I am supposed to be and by the grace of God, He let me know this season was coming and in order to prepare me for it the Lord reminded me of this very well known passage of scripture:
Psalm 23 in the Amplified Bible says, “THE LORD is my Shepherd [to feed, guide, and shield me], I shall not lack. He makes me lie down in [fresh, tender] green pastures; He leads me beside the still and restful waters. He refreshes and restores my life (my self); He leads me in the paths of righteousness [uprightness and right standing with Him–not for my earning it, but] for His name’s sake. Yes, though I walk through the [deep, sunless] valley of the shadow of death, I will fear or dread no evil, for You are with me; Your rod [to protect] and Your staff [to guide], they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my [brimming] cup runs over. Surely or only goodness, mercy, and unfailing love shall follow me all the days of my life, and through the length of my days the house of the Lord [and His presence] shall be my dwelling place.”
This has to be one of THE most well known or most quoted passages of scripture. What I love most about the whole book of Psalms is how it’s like a road map from “valley to mountain top” in EVERY aspect of life.
I have vinyl decorative lettering on the wall in my house that says, “When you can’t see God’s hand, trust His heart” – it’s there to remind me that His heart for me matters more than the things He can give me. I have to admit though, I often wonder why He makes us lie down in green pastures, but then leads us through the valleys of the shadow of death.
What captivates my attention for these “valley” moments is verses 4-6 where David says to the Father, “I will fear no evil, You are with me, Your rod and staff comfort me, You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies, You anoint my head with oil, my cup runs over, only goodness, mercy and unfailing love will follow me all the days of my life.” ALL this happened IN the valley!!
There’s not too much going on while David rested in the green pastures, just a little rest and relaxation. I can’t help but be amazed by the great lengths that God goes to in the valley moments. He lets us know that He’s with us and what He will do for us. It’s so much more than when we are in the green pastures. I am learning that the valley shapes us – it brings our attention to Him alone and it prepares us to handle the immense beauty of the pasture.
The valley allows us to know that He has fought for us in our moment of death so that we can shine for Him in our moment of life.
Verse 6 says, “Surely, or only goodness, mercy, and unfailing love shall follow me all the days of my life, and through the length of my days the house of the Lord [and His presence] shall be my dwelling place.” (Amplified Bible)
No matter what valley you are in, the Lord is with you, to lead you, guide you, protect you and prepare a table for YOU in the presence of your enemies be it health, family, finance or work. The length of your valley is nothing in comparison to the length of days that the Lord and His presence shall be your dwelling place.