Our pastor preached a great and encouraging message on Saturday night. It was full of faith during these hard economic times. I hope it ministers to you as much as it did to us.
Walking Through the Valleys of Life
This has been quite a week. In fact, the media is saying that we’re in the greatest financial crisis since the Great Depression. There is so much fear, panic and turmoil – more so than I’ve ever seen in my life. It’s way too much. And God is looking for His people to respond in a different way – not by fear, but in faith.
In order to do so, we need to get back into God’s Word to remind us that God is the answer for all of our troubles. When we start looking at the Word, God encourages us and builds our faith. He reminds us that no matter what happens, He is still on the throne…He hasn’t fallen off. He’s not worried in the least. We are going to make it.
In Psalm 23 (which is such a good passage of Scripture to meditate on every day) David wrote, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.” In other words, when we are under the lordship of Jesus, there is no wanting in us. We trust in the Lord, recognizing that He is well able to take care of us regardless of our circumstances. And this brings us into a place of peace and rest – where God wants us to live. No stress or worry; only peace and trust in Him.
Worrying accomplishes nothing. It only shows that we’re trying to control things on our own because we don’t trust God. We have to remind ourselves constantly that we are not the ones in control; God is. He takes care of us. He provides for us. This is the path of righteousness in which He wants to guide us.
David also writes, “Yea, though I walk through the valley…, I will fear no evil.” Life is filled with valleys. They are inevitable, unpredictable and impartial. That is, we all go through them at different times in our lives and they usually come at the worst time. But, valleys are also temporary – we may have to walk through them, but we don’t stay in them. And, most importantly, valleys are purposeful: God uses them to teach us and show us things; it is only in valleys that we grow; we don’t build faith on the mountain tops, but in the valleys; and, valleys drive us closer to God.
In order to walk through life’s valleys and come out on the other side, we have to decide to walk by faith and not by fear. That means focusing on God’s promises (found in His Word) instead of our problems. We need to feed our faith not our fear. Put a higher priority on God’s Word than the fear-mongering news media. I’m not suggesting that we disconnect, but just to stay focused on God’s promises.
Also, know that our words have tremendous power over our lives. If we keep speaking our fearful thoughts, we’ll bring what we fear upon ourselves. To get out of the valley, we must speak God’s promises over our lives, for what we are today is a direct result of what we say and believe. We have to change the way we speak; to quit speaking doubt and unbelief and start agreeing with what God says.
We need to learn how to hear God’s voice, and to obey everything He tells us to do. Now, this can be a difficult thing because sometimes we don’t want to do what God tells us to do. At other times, it can be hard because we’ve let the voice of the world (TV, radio, internet, music, etc.) get too loud and we need to turn it down. Remember, God often speaks in a still small voice – give yourself a chance to hear it.
Finally, always remember that God is with us. Yes, I know that’s really simple, but it’s so true and so profound. David wrote, “I will fear no evil for You are with me.” In other places God says, “Fear not for I am with you,” and “I will never leave you or forsake you.” People, jobs and money may leave us, but God will never leave us. The world is full of fear because most people don’t have that revelation.
Consider where you are right now in your faith. Are you walking by faith or fear? Are you speaking your problems, fears and anxieties, or what God says? Are you listening to your thoughts and the world, or to God’s still small voice? I urge you: seek God. Spend time with Him. Help yourself remember that God is with us, that He will never leave us and that with Him as our Lord and Shepherd, we will lack nothing and He will bring us through the life’s valleys victoriously. In these tumultuous times, the peace you’ll have as a result will be a more powerful witness than anything you could ever say.