Often I hear preachers, teachers, and speakers talk about “the valleys” of life. As they discuss the valley, the remind us that spiritually speaking this is a time in our life where God may seem distant as our suffering seems unbearable. They talk about becoming more intimate and getting to know God more in the valley than we ever could on the mountaintop, and they are right.
One thing that has often bothered me is hearing others talk about suffering in their own lives, yet feeling like they have no true perspective on real suffering. Time and time again I hear stories of times they have been in the “valley” only to think to myself… “if you only knew what a real valley is like…”
Before we all get our judgy faces out, I think these things, but never say them. The suffering each of us experience may be the worst suffering we’ve ever known. But today when I tell you that God is good, even in the valley, I need you to understand what valley I have walked through.
Often I see people say “God is good…” and I can almost hear the thoughts of those around me: “if you had walked where I’ve walked, you’d never say that.” My valley began on March 11th of 2017. If I’m being honest, the valley probably began some weeks and months before that day as I was consumed and overwhelmed by my own selfish failures.
On that tragic day, my family and I set out for vacation. Excited, looking forward to spending time together and experiencing new things. As we had so many times before, we found ourselves sitting in bumper to bumper traffic. In an instant, our lives changed forever.
I woke up inside a smoking car, blood running down in to my mouth. In a tragic moment, my four year old daughter was dead. The mother of my children would die several weeks later in the hospital. My son and I fought for life and eventually left the hospital a few months later.
I may not be the world’s foremost expert on suffering, but I have the scars to prove that I’ve walked through the Valley of the Shadow of Death. I wish I could tell you that through each step in the valley I was faithful. I have not always been faithful. God however has never left my side, even when I screamed towards the heavens and demanded an answer He never promised to give.
Today I am thankful that I serve a mighty God. I serve a good God. I serve a patient, faithful God. I serve a God who enters in to my pain and suffering and doesn’t leave me in hopeless despair.
I don’t know what valley your walking through today, but you don’t have to face a step alone. Through faith in Jesus Christ we find forgiveness and reconciliation with God. It is through this faith that we have the promise that God is always with us, He will not leave us or forsake us.
All those promises are beautifully true, but this promise is the one I want to leave you with today: Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. (Hebrews 4:16 NIV)
Are you hurting in your valley? Is your heart broken? Are you frustrated and angry? Do you feel alone? Have you been faithful but some how think God has forgotten you? Have you prayed and trusted God, but for some reason tragedy has still occurred? Trust Him. Go to Him. In your deepest despair, Jesus will meet you there and give you mercy and grace to help in your time of need.