September 11, 2018
Embracing Faith in the Valleys
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil (Psalm 23:4, NKJV).
Friend to Friend
The greenest grass is always found in the valley. Shepherds and sheep are well acquainted with the fact that both mountains and valleys are an inevitable part of life. Again, the shepherd is the one who has to figure out a way over the mountain and through the valley. If a sheep is injured, the shepherd must carry his sheep and tend to its wounds until they are healed and the sheep is ready to return to the fold. The shepherd’s whole world revolves around the safety and comfort of his sheep, even in the deepest valley.
Valleys are a certainty of life. Your job is eliminated. Your husband is having an affair, or your teenage daughter is pregnant. Financial pressure suffocates dreams, or the betrayal of a trusted friend inflicts a wound so deep and painful that you long for that valley of death. Each day is thick with fear, and your heart is filled with disbelief. The valley may suddenly be before you in a time of loneliness or in the shock of a dire medical diagnosis. How do we deal with those valleys?
Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”
We must respond to each valley with trust and faith. The word “trust” means “to lie helpless, face down” and is the picture of a servant waiting for his master’s command or a soldier yielding himself to a conquering general. “Heart” refers to “the center of one’s being.” In other words, to trust God completely means that from the very center of our being, from the very core of our existence, we trust Him, totally abandoning ourselves in childlike faith to Him and His plan. We come, holding nothing in our hands, pushing no agenda, with one word in our heart— “whatever!”
“Whatever You want me to do, Lord, I will do.
Whatever You want me to say, Lord, I will say.
Whatever You want me to think, Lord, I will think.
Whatever path You have for me, Lord, I will walk.”
If you are like me, you sometimes think you don’t have enough faith. The amount of faith is not nearly as important as the right kind of faith—faith in God alone. A mustard seed is small but can still take root and grow—just like faith. Faith is also like a muscle. The more we use it, the stronger it becomes. We must remember that faith doesn’t rest on what we have done but on what Christ has done. As Paul says, times of stress accentuate the presence and power of God.
We can rejoice when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they are good for us—they help us learn to endure. And endurance develops strength of character in us, and character strengthens our confident expectation of salvation. And this expectation will not disappoint us. For we know how dearly God loves us because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love (Romans 5:3-5 NLT).
When the valleys come, we are tempted to abandon our faith and strike out in our own strength when what we should do is embrace our faith in God, look for our Shepherd, and follow Him.
The story is told of a shepherd who tried to persuade his sheep to cross a swiftly flowing stream. Since sheep are naturally afraid of rapidly running water, the shepherd couldn’t get them to cross. Then he had an idea. Picking up a lamb, he stepped with it into the river and carried it to the opposite shore. When the mother saw that the shepherd had safely led her lamb across the stream, she forgot her fear and stepped out in faith and into the rushing current. Soon, she was safely on the other side. The rest of the flock followed.
Father, I want to thank You for being my Shepherd. Please teach me how to rest in Your care and trust You no matter how high the mountains or how deep the valleys in my life may be.
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
By faith, accept the truth that God is always at work in your life and thank Him for His steadfast provision. Look back over the past few days, weeks and months of your life. Now praise Him for the things He has done.
Read Proverbs 3:5-6. What are the steps listed in this passage that – when taken – will help you walk by faith?
More from the Girlfriends
Join Mary and women across the world each Wednesday beginning September 5 for a free Facebook Live Bible Study, Sandpaper People. Learn how to deal with the difficult people in your life. Perfect for personal or small group study.
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Originally published Tuesday, 11 September 2018.