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Summary: This is part six of a seven part series, THE STRESS BUSTERS

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STRESS BUSTERS PART 6

VALLEYS

Psalm 23:4

INTRODUCTION:

VALLEYS. That says it all doesn’t it? That word alone conjures up images of unforeseen and sometimes inhospitable circumstances.

Few of us talk about them, and none of us deliberately search for them. No one got up this morning and said, “Lord lead me to the valley today. I can’t wait for trouble to come my way.’

The Bible talks about different kinds of valleys we experience, in life.

Joshua talks about the Valley of Calamity

Psalm 84 talks about the Valley of Weeping

Hosea talks about the Valley of Trouble

This verse in Hebrew actually means The Valley of Deep Darkness.

And so the NLT, translates this, Even when I walk through the darkest valley.

When you are looking at a valley, you may want to look for another route around the valley. Or maybe, you ignore the valley all together, and wait for it to go away. You can try to blame the valley on someone or something else.

However, avoidance, denial, or blame will not make the valleys of life go away.

The Bible says that valleys are an INDISPENSIBLE part of life. James reminds us to be glad, even if you have a lot of trouble. 3You know that you learn to endure by having your faith tested. 4But you must learn to endure everything, so that you will be completely mature and not lacking in anything. ( 1:2-4, CEV)

Rick Warren writes, If you never have any down times, dark times, gloomy times in your life you'll be dried up. You'll have no depth to yourself, no maturity. It takes good times and bad times to make a mature person.

Today we're going to look at God's antidote to the Dark Valleys of life. Even in our darkest valleys, our darkest days, God is there.

This verse marks the half way mark of this Shepherds’ Psalm. Up to this point, the sheep have been talking in the third person. It is as if he has been boasting to his contemporaries, of the care he receives from the Shepherd.

Now the attention of the sheep turns personal. It is as if the sheep is entering an intimate personal conversation with the Shepherd.

"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

Let’s understand what David is referring to in this verse.

Sometimes we may think that the “valley” David is referring to here is only the valley of death. Literally the Hebrew here reads “the valley of deep darkness.”

You see, we might think of a valley as a gentle, rolling, meadow where living is ideal. And truly there are some beautiful valleys. The Trent Hills is a beautiful valley to drive through in the summer and fall. The Ottawa Valley in Eastern Ontario is absolutely stuning and serene this time of year. David is not referring to that type of terrain here.

He is referring to a deep, dark, ravine. A place that is home for vultures by day and wolves by night, a chasm among the hills, a frightening place.

In fact, most scholars believe that David is referring to a specific valley called the “Valley of the Shadow of Death.” It was a deep, dark, foreboding place to try to walk through let alone lead sheep.

David, would often lead his sheep through the valley of the shadow of death as the flock made it’s way to the higher mountain ranges for summer grazing. But, when he says we walk through this valley he is not talking about this kind of place in the physical sense but the emotional sense. He’s speaking of places of deep heartache, of tough trauma, of serious suffering.

It is not just knowing that valleys come, the issue is, How do I handle the dark valleys of life when they come?

There are five facts about valleys that you need to remember whenever you go through a tough time:

1. VALLEYS ARE UNAVOIDABLE: You cannot avoid the valleys of life.

When valleys come, and unforeseen circumstances make us turn our heads, we are often dumbfounded and taken by surprise.

The Bible reminds us, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you.

They are going to happen. You have just come out of a valley, or you're in one right now, or you're probably headed toward one. Valleys happen throughout life -- one right after another. After every mountain top there is a valley.

Jesus was very realistic about it. In John 16, He says "In the world you will have trouble." It's not a matter of if, it's when. It's going to happen.

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