Rhythm Reading Plan: Day Eight

Camping in the Valley

Scripture: Psalm 23:4

How many times in life have you found yourself in a seemingly impossible situation? Divorce? Physical abuse? Emotional abuse? Insurmountable debt? Unexpected illness or accident? The death of a loved one? As you read these words, you can probably identify one or more of those experiences in your life. Have you ever thought, “I can’t do this anymore” or “I’m done”? A life in Christ is not pain-free. In fact, John 16:33 says: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Did you hear Jesus’ guarantee? He says we will have trouble in this world.

“Even though I walk through the darkest valley”- Those painful experiences are referred to as the darkest valleys. When you picture a valley, you probably imagine a low-lying area between two higher areas (mountain tops). A valley suggests being surrounded. Stuck.

“Even though I walk through the darkest valley”- That ‘stuck’ feeling causes a lot of emotion in us humans. We kick into fight or flight mode because we’re scared and believe there’s no way out. However, there’s good news. The valley isn’t our destination; the valley is just part of the journey, and we’re only passing through it.

There is life on the other side of divorce, abuse, debt, etc. Life is available to us if we keep walking through the valley, even when we want to quit. When we cry out to God through prayer and fasting, we find the strength to continue on even in the most challenging of situations. However, if we decide the valley is too much for us, throw our hands in the air and quit, we’ve essentially set up camp there. Outdoor experts will tell you never to set up camp in the valley. If you camp in the valley, you leave yourself vulnerable to the elements and attacks from all sides. Camping in the valley gives you no vantage point against your enemy.

In the midst of the valleys we face in life, we should hold onto the promise that it’s not our end game. We should embrace the hope that there is a mountaintop somewhere in our horizon; that joy will come after a season of mourning.

1) Are you currently in a valley? If so, journal the details of the valley experience you are facing. Pray for wisdom about the journey.  If not, reflect on your most recent valley experience.

2)Are you emotionally “stuck” in a valley which is causing you more pain or even bitterness? Pray about how to move from that place.

3)What can you do to be sure that when you face your next valley, you come through it and don’t camp there?

Devotional Contributed by Julie Barnes