1 The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need. 2 He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. 3 He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name. 4 Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me. Psalm 23: 1 – 4 (NLT)
There was a devastating wild fire in Yorba Linda, California in October a few years ago. It rapidly swept through a dried up valley in Chino Hills State Park, devouring trees, homes, and everything else that fell in its greedy path. The winter rains began shortly after the fire was squelched, causing mudslide concerns for those living near the areas that were destroyed. The following spring I went mountain biking through the Chino Hills valley. There was a bizarre yet stunning mix of wildflowers, lush green grass, and charred earth and trees.
Seeing such vivid life growing amid the very obvious and recent death in the valley made me think of the charred valleys in my life. Many instances came to mind when I felt like I could not possibly endure another day; when I had yelled to God “enough” and asked that he let m
e join him in the peace of Heaven. In His great wisdom, God chose to let me remain on earth to work through my valleys of darkness so that I could grow into the woman he needed me to be. During these times he gave me the comfort, strength, and courage I needed to endure the smoke and burning until I was sprinkled with his showers of love and joy when I reached my green pastures and peaceful streams.
Now when I find myself in dark valleys I focus on the reward that I know awaits me for persevering when I feel that I cannot, for trusting Him to guide me when I do not want to, and for focusing on Him when I feel distracted by the darkness.
Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, please help me to see and feel your love and guidance when I am in dark valleys and give me the strength and courage I need to endure until I reach my green meadows. Amen.