Tag Archives: dark times

Surviving The Dark Valley

In one of the darkest times of my life, I felt like everything was crumbling around me. I couldn’t sleep or eat for days. I laid in bed at night and would repeat Nehemiah 8:10. “The joy of the Lord is my strength.” Over and over I would say it. Then I started singing it through the tears. It became my mantra. Because of that, even though my world was crumbling around me, I found a place deep within that gave me hope that I would make it through it. Some days I couldn’t see past a minute in front of me, but i knew if God would help me survive that minute, then I could survive the next. God would remind me of Scriptures to hold on to or He would have someone give me one out of the blue. Life was hard, but God provided a way through it and gave me strength to endure.

Psalm 84:5-6 says, “How enriched are they who find their strength in the Lord…Even when their paths wind through the dark valley of tears, they dig deep to find a pleasant pool where others find only pain. He gives to them a brook of blessing filled from the rain of an outpouring” (TPT ). This promise is to those who find their strength in the Lord first of all. Every one of us goes through the dark valley of tears. What I love is that God says, “Pick up your shovel during that time and start digging. Beneath all that pain is a pool where you can find strength and refreshment.” We’ve got to dig deeper than the way things appear on the surface. We’ve got to dig deep into God’s Word. We’ve got to dig deep into His promises, and put our roots there. If they’re on the surface, we’ll be blown over like a tree in a hurricane. Our roots cannot remain at surface level in the dark valley of tears.

You can either be defeated in that valley or you can find the brook of God’s blessing. God is pouring out blessings all the time, but we don’t see them because we get too focused on the things going on around us. Lamentations 3:21-25 says, “Yet hope returns when I remember this one thing: The Lord’s unfailing love and mercy still continue, Fresh as the morning, as sure as the sunrise. The Lord is all I have, and so in him I put my hope. The Lord is good to everyone who trusts in him” (GNT). You can have hope in the dark valley of tears when you focus on God’s unfailing love to get you through it and His mercy to remind you that this is a season and there are mountain tops still ahead. Trust and hope in the Lord and draw your strength from Him.

Photo by Julian Villella on Unsplash

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Choosing Joy


There was a time when I was so broken, hurt, and angry that I couldn’t sleep. Every time I closed my eyes I would see images that got me worked up. After a while of it, I gave up trying to sleep and turned on the TV. As I was flipping through, I found a local, Christian station. All night they played the music of worship songs. As the songs played, they showed pictures of flower covered hillsides and had Bible verses pop in and out. As I listened to the music and read the verses, I began to heal.

One of the verses that came on the screen was Philippians 4:4. It said, “Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice!” The old song for that verse, that I had learned as a kid, began to play in my mind. After singing it a few times, I began to sing, “I’ve got the joy, joy, joy down in my heart” and “The joy of the Lord is my strength”. Slowly the anger began to leave me. God’s Word was brining the healing that I needed and eventually restored the joy in my life.

King David was a man who had stresses and worries too. Running a kingdom is hard work. Plus he had many enemies, including his own son Absalom. In Psalm 119:143, David wrote, “I am filled with trouble and anxiety, but your commandments bring me joy” (GNT). No matter how much anxiety or trouble he was facing, he could turn to God’s Word and find joy. He knew he could choose to wallow in his anxiety or he could choose joy.

Each of us have the same choice. We can choose to focus on our troubles and become anxious or we can choose to read the promises of God and find joy. In the darkest nights of my life, I found the joy that comes from God’s Word. Did it take away my situation? No, but it helped me get through it. It reminded me that I can choose to rejoice, I can have joy and that the Lord’s joy gives me strength. With His strength I was able to make it through that time. You too can make it through whatever you’re facing in His strength.

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This Little Light Of Mine


© International Space Station / Facebook

When you were little, I bet you sang this, “This little light of mine. I’m going to let it shine. This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine. Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine. Don’t let Satan blow it out. I’m going to let it shine. Don’t let Satan blow it out. Im going to let it shine. Let it shine, let it shine, let us shine.” Good times right? I hope this song gets stuck in your head today because it carries a simple, but powerful truth: You have God’s light in you! Think about that. In the midst of any dark situation, you are filled with God’s light. Don’t hide it under a bushel.

Speaking of the light God placed in us, John 1:5 says, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it” (NLT). As a kid, I was worried that Satan could blow it out, but now I know that darkness can’t extinguish it. That means that there’s nothing the enemy can bring against you that will put out the light God put in you. You can walk through the valley of the shadow of death, and not gave your light put out. You can be in a hole that either you dug or that life has thrown you in, and your light will still shine.

Today, I was looking at some pictures from the International Space Station (shown above). It had pictures of Italy, Spain, and several other countries at night. All throughout those photos, there were spots of light. It’s a great visual example of what God is doing. He knows that where there is light, darkness has to flee. Darkness is simply the absence of light. It can’t put out light. It can only exist where there is no light. Just like those photos showed lit up areas in the middle of the night, so should our lives light up the darkness around us.

When we accept Christ, we have the true light living in us. Therefore, wherever we go, darkness has to flee. Whether your light is small and dim or big and bright, it chases darkness away. I know there are days when my light doesn’t feel very powerful, but even on my weakest days, the light in me is stronger than any darkness. In Matthew 5, Jesus said we are like a city set on a hill that can’t be hidden. If you’ve ever seen a city on a hill at night, you know what He’s talking about. Go be that light to someone today – God knows someone needs your light in their life.

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The Author Of Life


The guest preacher at our church shared his story of hardship and how God used his brokenness to rebuild him. He shared how everything was going wrong and no one was giving him any hope. It was then that the Lord spoke to him some powerful words that I believe God has been trying to tell us since the beginning of time. The Lord told him, “I am not the author of your crisis, but I am the orchestrator of the outcome.”

As I read through the Bible, I see the same story repeated over and over. People fail to trust God, they fall away from him, crisis happens, they call out to God for forgiveness, and He orchestrates redemption. As I sit and read the Bible, it’s hard to grasp the timelines of how long these things happen and go on for. What takes minutes to read, could have taken years to happen. In those minutes, it’s easy to wonder how they could quit trusting God.

However, when we are in similar crises that drag on for days, weeks, months, and years, it can seem like it will never end. It’s hard to see a light at the end of a tunnel when you’re surrounded by darkness. It’s difficult to trust God in those times. In fact, we often blame Him for our troubles and ask why He brought it on us. If we aren’t careful, the unexplained, never ending storms in our lives can cause us to grow bitter against God because we falsely believe He is the author of them.

Jesus knew we would forget that the bad things in our life don’t come from God. So He reminded us in John 10:10, “The thief comes only in order to steal, kill, and destroy. I have come in order that you might have life—life in all its fullness” (GNT). If your life is under attack, that is not from God. While none of us are exempt from bad things happening, all of us can have the author of life orchestrate something good from those bad things.

God can take the broken pieces of your life to rebuild you stronger and better. We must keep perspective of who He is in our storm. You can’t fall for the lie that God is the one who destroyed your life. You must remember that He is the one who restores, renews, and redeems. Your storm will come to an end. God is already working this out for your good even though you can’t see it now. Trust in the author of life to do what He does best in your own life. He sees you in the storm and He’s orchestrating the outcome.

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The Valley Of Blessing

In II Chronicles 20, several armies declared war against King Jehoshaphat at the same time. It says he was terrified when he heard the news. He immediately began to beg The Lord for guidance and asked everyone to fast and pray with him. The people came to Jerusalem to pray with him and to be ready to fight this vast army that had risen up against them. While they were praying, a man spoke up and said, “Don’t be afraid! The battle is not yours, but God’s.” He also told the people they were to march out to the battlefield, but that they wouldn’t even have to fight.

When they showed up to the battlefield, the other armies had been fighting each other and not one was left alive. The Israelites walked through the valley and gathered up all the spoils. It took them three days to collect it all. On the fourth day, they decided to call that place the Valley of Blessing. After that, no other armies wanted to face Israel and the story ends with, “Jehoshaphat’s kingdom was at peace, for his God had given him rest on every side.” Not only had God fought his battle and given him the spoils, He gave him peace and rest.

When I think of valleys, I don’t think of blessings. I think of difficult times, dark times, hard times, wandering aimlessly, and pain. What I see in this story is that God can take our valleys and turn them into blessings. We don’t have to be terrified of them because the battles that we face there are not ours, but God’s. He is the one who goes before us. He’s the one who fights on our behalf. We look at the odds and think, “There’s no way.” God looks at the odds and think, “Nothing is impossible for me.”

I like that King Jehoshaphat had the people meet him in Jerusalem. The very name of that city means “God will see to it”. They were reminded of that while they were praying and fasting about what to do in the valley. They knew they were out numbered. They knew there was no way for them to win the battle. Fear had taken over. In the middle of all that anxiety, God reminded them that He would see to it. All they had to do was show up ready to fight. When they acted in obedience to the Word of God, their enemies were defeated and they gathered the spoils. What should have been a valley of defeat turned into a valley of blessing.

You don’t have to be afraid of whatever valley you’re facing today. God sees that the odds are against you. He sees the impossibility of your situation. He wants you to turn to Him in prayer so He can remind you that He will see to it. He will be the one who goes before you. He will be the one who says, “This is my battle not yours. Show up for the fight and watch what I do.” As verse 20 says, “Believe in The Lord your God and you will be able to stand firm.” No matter what enemy rises up against you, God will see to it that the place you are afraid of will be turned into a valley of blessing.

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Stand Strong

One of my favorite people in the Bible is Gideon. I’m reminded of his story so often because I find myself in need of all the lessons it teaches. In Judges 6, the Bible explains that times were bad in Israel. The Midianites were destroying crops, killing animals and harassing the Israelites. There wasn’t anything anyone could do to stop them. The Israelites lived in fear because of all the bad things that were happening. If they had grain, they had to thresh it in hiding. If they had goats, they had to keep them hidden. Anything in the open would be taken.

Gideon was threshing his grain in the bottom of a wine press so no one would see him. An angel appeared and called out to him, “Mighty hero, The Lord is with you.” Gideon, who was hiding because he was afraid of the Midianites, didn’t think twice about the angel calling him a hero. What caught his attention was that the angel said, “The Lord is with you.” He took a double take at the angel and must have thought this guy didn’t know much. How could he say that when so many bad things were happening?

He confronted the angel and asked, “If The Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us?” Have you ever felt that way? When everything in life is going wrong and you feel abandoned by God. It’s an uncomfortable place. A dark place. Fear of the future grips your mind. You find yourself constantly worrying about things that you have no control over. You feel like God has forgotten you or worse, abandoned you in need. Your mind tells you that God doesn’t care. That He doesn’t see you in your pain.

In this verse, the angel reminds us that God’s presence in our lives isn’t proven by our circumstances. Our lives can be falling apart and God can still be with us. We’ve somehow come to believe that God is with us when things are good and has abandoned us when times are bad. His presence is with you no matter what. He is with you even when you can see His hand or feel His presence. He is with you when your life is so dark that you can’t see any light at the end of the tunnel. He is not only with you, He’s preparing you for greatness in those times. Greatness doesn’t come from an easy life. It’s forged in the darkness and in the fire.

Whatever you are facing today, I say to you, “Mighty hero, The Lord is with you!” You may not feel like a hero, but you’re still standing through everything. You may not feel like The Lord is with you, but He has never left your side. He has been standing next to you through everything you have faced and everything you will face because He will not abandon you. He will not forsake you. He will not forget you. He will deliver you when the timing is right. He will lead you to better times when you have learned all He wants to show you in the dark. Stand strong today because The Lord is with you.

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