When you walk down the valley of death, nothing seems to bring you joy. There seems to be no hope on the horizon and you are in a mental prison where negative thoughts are criminal and positive thoughts are forbidden. We all walk through the valley of the shadow of death at some point. We have short or long trips down that valley. It is a place of despair and of sadness. The Lord tells us that when we are down in the valley, we shouldn’t be afraid and we shouldn’t be intimidated. Why? Because He is with us in the valley. David wrote about the dreadful valley in Psalm 23 and declared that even when he was the valley, he feared no evil. He had no fear when he was down there because he knew who his God was. He had total faith in God’s ability to rescue him and to protect him. You and I have the same God David had by his side in the valley of death. Our God is our refuge and our shelter. We could be in the deepest valley of death but nothing will separate us from God’s love. We could be going through the most excruciating time but the pain and the suffering are not too big for our God. When we go through the valley of the shadow of death, we need to turn to God. He might appear to be missing in action but that is just a spiritual optical illusion. God has not left but the mental prison has taken over and we ought to get out of there. Today I want to encourage you to turn to God and to trust Him in the deep valleys of death. Learn to rely on His love and to declare just like David that you will fear no evil because you know who your God is.
Even though you might be walking through the darkest valleys, you have nothing to fear because the Lord your Shepherd is there to assist you and to bless you. How does His company impact the valley of death? You have to look at what God is like. He is love, He is joy, He is almighty and powerful and He is peace among many other amazing things. When you are in the valley, He can give you love, peace, joy, faith, patience, self-control, long suffering, protection and hope. What you need to do is tap into the power of the Holy Spirit. That power is available when you pray. Prayer brings the Lord into the scene. Prayer opens a realm of possibilities. Prayer is made possible by the Holy Spirit. Every time you feel like praying or you are led to pray, it is because of the nudge from the Holy Spirit. It could appear to be a simple act or a natural thing but it is coming from the Holy Spirit. As a believer, you have the Holy Spirit in you. He is your biggest ally and your biggest strength. He is your connection to God and you should maximize that connection. Pray in the valley and speak. Pray in the valley and listen to the Lord. Speak and declare that you are with the Lord in the valley. Speak over your circumstances in the valley. Walk around the valley with confidence trusting that your Shepherd is there with you and that His rod and His staff comfort you like David said. When I first read about the Lord’s rod and staff, I had to look up those two words.
A shepherd has a rod and staff. A rod is a strong stick used to ward off wild animals and to protect the sheep. Here the rod symbolizes the strength and the protection of God. The staff is a long stick with a hook on it that allows the shepherd to save a sheep if it has fallen in a hole. The staff also symbolizes God’s protection and His love and care for us as well as His power to rescue us. God has a rod and a staff with Him when he is walking in the valley by your side. You have nothing to fear in the valley. Call on the Lord for help. Thank Him for His rod and His staff. Know that He will use them to get you out of the valley. You can walk in faith with your eyes fixed on the Lord. It is important that you can see the Lord when you are in the valley. If He is nowhere to be seen, change your focus. Sing to Him. Exalt Him. Praise yourself back to His presence. He doesn’t go anywhere but like I mentioned before, your mind takes you away from Him and hides Him from you. Renew your mind with singing and with the Word of God. You should always be able to see the Lord so to speak whether you are in the valley or not. I have long days when I am so busy that I can’t see the Lord. Sometimes I lose sight of Him just a few hours into my day. I am learning that as long as I can get back to Him quickly I am ok. A prayer or a few words of gratitude bring me back to Him. Find what helps you be in the presence of the Lord as often as possible. The Lord is with you today and every day. Valley or no valley He is there for you and with you. Don’t lose hope. Stay encouraged, friend!
Suggested reading: Psalm 23; Psalm 91; Acts 18:9-10