Summary: If you are down in the dumps, it may be because you have too much going in your life that takes you away from God. Do as Jesus did, slow down and pray.
Okay. What should I do? Sometimes I get so discouraged, embittered, and apathetic that I feel like I will never get out of the bottom of the valley. I am amazed that I even managed to make it to worship this morning. This “Death Valley” seems to be never ending. The sand of bitterness blinds me to the direction I need to go. The dry winds of apathy dehydrates my joy and strength. The cold nights numb my heart, yet the hut mid-day sun heats up my anger. Where is the joy that is supposed to be mine?
Let me tell you, it is not easy to get out of the valley. As a matter in fact, getting out may take awhile. But don’t get discouraged, because God is bigger than the valley. Instead of the valley swallowing you up, God will swallow you up in his joy.
But it is so hard to see that when you are in the bottom of Death Valley. All you see are bones and sand as far as the eye can see. If there seems to be no way out, you are looking in the wrong place. So, where should I look if I feel trapped in the valley?
Do what Jesus did
Hebrews chapter 2 tells us that Jesus shared in the same flesh and blood that we have. He was made like is in ALL things. Chapter four tells us that he was tempted in all things as we have. So Jesus knew what it was like to be in the valley. He walked the same lonesome valley that you may be in right now. He had the same desert sand blowing in his face. Did he stay in the desert? No. How did he keep from getting stuck there?
He slowed down.
How in the world does slowing down keep you from getting stuck in the valley? Besides, how do you know Jesus slowed down? He had so much to do. Don’t you think he would have attacked it at full speed to make sure he got as much done as possible in the little time that he had?
Before we go any further, let me ask this. Did Jesus practice what he preached? Of course he did, all the way down to losing your life in order to find it. He was a man of integrity. I want you to keep that in mind as we look at his instructions to slow down. He would tell us to do whatever he himself does.
I remember coming out of the house one day to find my boys huddled together silently on the sidewalk. They weren’t running around as they normally did when the played in the yard. I had to wonder what in the world they were up to. When I looked closer, I noticed they were watching in wide eyed wonder at a line of ants as they made their way from some far away location back to their home in the ground. Time seemed to stand still as they quietly watched these wondrous creations of God go about their business.
Have you ever noticed how children are completely captivated by the wonder of creation? They watch silently and wonder at the way of a grasshopper, or a sparrow, or a single flower. At some point, they will grow up and will most likely not notice these things. If they do notice, they may analyze and explain it all with scientific terms. After all, who in their adult life has time to just sit and wonder at the simple beauty of God’s creation?
Was Jesus child-like in this way? Was he one to slow down and observe God’s creation? I want you to notice what he teaches on this and how he teaches it in Matthew 6:24-34.
"For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! Do not worry then, saying, ’What will we eat?’ or ’What will we drink?’ or ’What will we wear for clothing?’ For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”