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." (Psalm 23:4)
How do we handle the dark valleys of life? These facts about valleys can help.
1. Valleys are inevitable. They are a normal part of life. Don't be surprised by them. Jesus said, "In this world you will have trouble." (John 16:33)
2. Valleys are unpredictable. Theyre sudden and unexpected. Jeremiah 4:20 says, "In an instant my tents are destroyed, my shelter in a moment."
3. Valleys are impartial. No one is insulated from pain and sorrow. No one gets to skate through life free of problems. Problems dont mean you're a bad person. They mean youre a person. In Matthew 5:45, Jesus said, "He sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous."
4. Valleys are temporary. A valley is something we go through a situation that has a season (see Ps. 23:4). 1 Peter 1:6 says, Now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.
Life is tough, but it's only for a while. There is joy ahead if we know the Lord Jesus Christ. There are no dark days in Heaven.
5. Valleys are purposeful. God has a reason for taking us through them. 1 Peter 1:6-7 says, "These [trials] have come so that your faith may be proved genuine.
Pain can be productive. God wants to build our faith in the valleys. We love the mountaintops, but we build faith in the valleys. When we come face to face with a dark valley, we get on our knees.
Prayer guidance: Ask God to walk with you and teach you through the inevitable valleys of life.
To think about: Recall dark valleys of the past. Were they temporary? Were they purposeful?
This column was adapted from Rick Warren's sermon God's Antidote For Your Dark Valleys.
Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., one of America's largest and best-known churches. In addition, Rick is author of the New York Times bestseller The Purpose-Driven Life and The Purpose-Driven Church, which was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th Century. He is also founder of Pastors.com, a global Internet community for ministers. Copyright 2005 Pastors.com, Inc. Used with permission. All rights reserved.
Adapted from Rick Warren's Ministry ToolBox, a free weekly e-newsletter for pastors and church leaders, available at Pastors.com.