“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.” Psalm 23:4
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.
1. VALLEYS ARE INEVITABLE
They are going to happen so you might as well prepare for 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 quite often one right after another. After every mountain top there seems to be a valley. Jesus was very realistic about it. In John 16, He says, “In the world you will (not might) 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, defeat 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. Something else…
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, and even when you feel a little depressed, it doesn’t mean you’re a bad person or not a Christian. 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 can and often will happen and just 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.
4. VALLEYS ARE TEMPORARY
They have an end to them. They don’t last. They are not a permanent location. David says, “Even though I walk THROUGH the valley.” The valley is not something you stay in your entire life. It’s something you go through — a circumstance, a situation that has a season to it. When you’re in a valley you often think it’s a dead end, but it’s not. It’s like a tunnel — there is a beginning and end. You go through the tunnel and eventually you’re out of it and back out in the light again. They don’t come into your life to stay.
They come to pass. I Peter 1:6 “There is a wonderful joy ahead, even though the going is rough for a while down here.” He admits that sometimes you’re going to go through tough times. It’s going to be rough. Life can be tough.
But it’s only for a while. There is wonderful joy ahead. He’s talking about Heaven. There are no problems in heaven, no valleys, no dark days. While you may be harassed down here, in heaven you’ll have no problems. If you know the Lord Jesus Christ, that’s where you’re going.
He says don’t get discouraged. Even if you live 80 or 90 years and have a problem your entire life, that is so insignificant compared to the thousands and millions of years in eternity problem free. He says, even if it’s your whole life it’s just temporary compared in light of eternity.
“Our troubles are short lived and there is an eternal glory which outweighs them all.” They won’t last; they will be short. But he says, there is an eternal glory. This is important. Pain can be productive. There will be a benefit for our problems if we respond in the right way. While we have the temporary hassles, there is long term eternal benefit when you go through a valley and respond to it correctly.
Some will like this article and others will say I am being negative. You might want to follow the next two post about valleys before you shoot the messenger. I need to tell you these truths about valleys before I suggest to you how to respond correctly and get through them.
By Ron Corzine
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