Walking Through the Valleys

Man grieving

As I walked through the valleys of abuse, unfairness, pain, depression, loss and grief in my own life, nothing has been more important to me than remembering the Lord’s promises and listening to the words of comfort that He shares with us in His word. Some of them have come back to mind time and time again during and after my most painful and critical times. They comforted me, supported me and gave me the guidance and help I needed to make the right choices, get back on my feet and walk with the Lord in faith and trust.

When I have been wounded by others, one of the most challenging things for me was to extend my trust to anyone again. At times it was so bad that even trusting God seemed difficult and strange. Yet, the warmth, the reassurance and the love I found in His word have kept me going through thick and thin as a steady flow of real care reminded me that no matter what, He would never leave me nor forsake me. His words reminded me that He was there with me even when it didn’t seem to be so. They reminded me of His love, and especially of the wonderful work He is doing in me and the value He has placed in me as a child of His.

When everyone seemed to be there to crash me down, He was there to lift me up from within my heart. When others accused me unfairly, He kept reassuring me. When others abandoned me, He stayed and made his presence known. I would like to share some of those passages and a few of the thoughts that His word stimulated in me in the hope that you too will find them just as comforting and encouraging as I did. These are unedited, raw thoughts, coming from the heat of pain and disappointment. They are very personal, marking a journey through the darkest alleys to find His light again.

I hope His words will keep reminding you that the Lord really loves you. No matter what your circumstances may be, He is and will always be with you! May His presence be manifest to you and bless you greatly as He touches your life with His love and grace.

A Personal Meditation from Darkness to Light

I have been asking myself so many questions lately! Many times I have wondered if life is just about moving piles of dirt from one side to the other of the same dark room. Why does it hurt so much? What is it all about? Who am I, really? What am I worth? People have told me that I am trash, worth nothing, or even worse. At times I ask myself if they may be right, if there is some truth in their cutting remarks. My heart bleeds so badly and everything I had treasured has been taken away, some by the grips of death, some by other losses. What hurts the most, however, is the pain inflicted by the betrayal of those I had trusted, those who had shared so much with me in the House of the Lord. At times I wonder what God thinks of me. Does He look at me in the same way as they do? Is He as disgusted with me as they are? I need to know.

Psalm 147:3-6
He heals the brokenhearted And binds up their wounds. He counts the number of the stars; He gives names to all of them. Great is our Lord and abundant in strength; His understanding is infinite. The LORD supports the afflicted; He brings down the wicked to the ground.

I believe You, Lord, even though I don’t see. I know that one day You will heal my wounds, too. Yet, I cannot see how or when. My mind tries so hard to find answers and explanations, but they are not there. It just doesn’t make any sense – nothing seems to. Yet, here it is . . . Your promise, Your word. It means so much more to me now. I ask myself if You can, and You remind me that you are the one who placed all the stars on their course and knows them one by one. You know me too, and Your understanding has no limit. I know You will lift me up again. I know that You will not let those who crush me down prevail forever. I know that my heart one day will stop bleeding. Just take me by the hand that I may walk with You, because I am scared and alone. I need You like never before. Thanks for being here.

Psalm 27:7-10
Hear, O LORD, when I cry with my voice, And be gracious to me and answer me. When You said, “Seek My face,” my heart said to You, “Your face, O LORD, I shall seek.”  Do not hide Your face from me, Do not turn Your servant away in anger; You have been my help; Do not abandon me nor forsake me, O God of my salvation!  For my father and my mother have forsaken me, But the LORD will take me up.

It hurts so much. I wish it could stop. I need You, Lord! Please, don’t hide Yourself from me, because You are all I have left. I know I am far from being perfect, that I have made so many mistakes . . . please, don’t put me away in Your anger. As I think of it, I know I have been even worse in the past, but then You did not come against me. You did not lash out at me to send Your punishment on me. Rather, You gave Your life for me, and You came to me to lift me up. You cleaned me, You restored me and gave me hope for the future. I know that even in all my faults I am better than I used to be, and this is thanks to You and Your grace. I know You will continue to be here and to shape me, because You said You would. I know that even though those I loved the most have turned against me, in You I will always be accepted and welcomed. Please, grant me to remember that, and seek Your face every day of my life.

Deuteronomy 4:31
“For the LORD your God is a compassionate God; He will not fail you nor destroy you nor forget the covenant with your fathers which He swore to them.

Psalm 94:14
For the LORD will not abandon His people, Nor will He forsake His inheritance.

Thank You, Lord, for Your mercy, Your reassurance and for being faithful. Please, forgive me for having doubted You, and for having thought of You as being like everyone else. No, You will not forsake me, You will not abandon me, You will not forget the work You have began in me. You are my inheritance and my hope, and I know I am secure in you. …Thank You.

Psalm 43:5
Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why are you disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him, The help of my countenance and my God.

As the days go by and the pain lingers, my soul is tired and depressed. I have fallen so far down that sometimes I ask myself if I will ever stand again. I know You understand, for Your word tells me so. You don’t leave me in the pit of despair. You ask me to lift my eyes and look at You, not at the mud of life in which I am immersed. Yes, I will praise You again out of joy, and I will stand again because of You.

Isaiah 51:11
So the ransomed of the LORD will return And come with joyful shouting to Zion, And everlasting joy will be on their heads. They will obtain gladness and joy, And sorrow and sighing will flee away.

Lord, Your words are powerful and deep. My eyes have been filled with tears, but You dry them up with Your love. I have felt as if life had exiled me. Yet, I too will return, but not with sadness. I long for that day, when tears and sorrows will run away and joy will be established and last forever in You. I know it will come. Thank You.

Psalm 37:23-24
The steps of a man are established by the LORD, And He delights in his way.  When he falls, he will not be hurled headlong, Because the LORD is the One who holds his hand.

Isaiah 41:9-10
You whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, And called from its remotest parts And said to you, ‘You are My servant, I have chosen you and not rejected you.  ‘Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’

So many times in the last few days and weeks I have asked myself if You were there. You seemed so far at times, so unreachable. I know now I was wrong. You have always been by my side, even when I didn’t see You. I long for Your strength and Your help, and when I need it the most, there You are, to sustain me and help me. I have been so scared, Lord! I didn’t know what to do. But then You reminded me that my steps are ordered by You and that You have chosen me not to destroy me, but to edify me and shape me into one of your servants. Please, let me be aware of Your presence, let me know that You are here with me. Take my hand and walk with me, and thanks for reminding me of who You are.

2 Corinthians 4:6-10
For God, who said, “Light shall shine out of darkness,” is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.  But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing;  persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;  always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.

I have been in darkness for so long that I was beginning to doubt that I would ever see the light again. Then, here You are, once again, with Your word to comfort and to encourage. Yes, just like You brought forth light from darkness, You will also bring good out of this evil. I feel so weak and vulnerable, but then you remind me that it’s all right, and You tell me why. I am all right even though I feel so weak because You show me that I should not rely on my strength, but rather on You. You have given me so much, yet I can only receive it in my fragility and in my mortality so that I would not boast in myself, but rather in You. I am beginning to see, Lord, but it is still so blurry and foggy. Open my eyes, Lord, that I may see better.

Romans 8:35-39
Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?  Just as it is written, “FOR YOUR SAKE WE ARE BEING PUT TO DEATH ALL DAY LONG; WE WERE CONSIDERED AS SHEEP TO BE SLAUGHTERED.”  But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.  For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers,  nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

I have been so scared, lonely and afraid that I have started to doubt You and your love. Thanks for correcting me and for showing me that I was looking in the wrong direction. You don’t use the circumstances of life to show Your love. In fact, it was when the going was toughest that I found Your love. Yes, I too can be a conqueror, not on my own, but in You. You have all that it takes, so I can lean on You. Of all the things I was fearing, all the things that were placing doubts in my mind nothing can be found that would separate me from Your love in Jesus, for nothing could stop Him from giving Himself for me. How can I thank You for Your steadfast love?

Philippians 4:11-13
Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.  I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.  I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.

1 John 4:4
You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.

How quickly do I tend to forget who You are, Lord! Even if the whole world were to turn against me – and sometimes it feels as if it did – I know that You are more powerful, and that You have promised to be not just with me, but in me. Come, Lord Jesus. Come and abide in me, that I may be Your servant and do your will.

Romans 12:19-21
Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY,” says the Lord.  “BUT IF YOUR ENEMY IS HUNGRY, FEED HIM, AND IF HE IS THIRSTY, GIVE HIM A DRINK; FOR IN SO DOING YOU WILL HEAP BURNING COALS ON HIS HEAD.”  Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Isaiah 54:17
“No weapon that is formed against you will prosper; And every tongue that accuses you in judgment you will condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, And their vindication is from Me,” declares the LORD.

I have been tempted, Lord. I had the opportunity to get even, and it seemed so inviting. But then You reminded me that it would not be right, so I placed it in Your hands. I know it is right to do so, but it did not feel like it, because once again it made me look like a looser in the eyes of so many. I am beginning to understand, though. Even though in the present circumstances in life I may seem to be a looser, I can be more than a winner, ultimately, for eternity. I think this may be the true intended meaning of the parable of Lazarus and the rich man. I take that wealth to be symbolic of more than just finances, and to include health, prestige, prosperity, false security in the things of this world. In Psalm 37 I find that the person who has everything he may want in life, if he is not righteous and humble before You, he will not prosper forever. On the other hand, the poor and the humble, if righteous before You, even though he may face adversity in this life he will find eternal glory. All my affections here are temporary. Grant me not to lean on them. Grant me to walk straight and to continue to resist my temptation to get even. I place it all in Your hands. Please, grant me the ability to leave it there.

2 Corinthians 2:14-15
But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place.  For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing;

I can hardly believe my eyes, Lord. Did You really say this? Am I really to You a fragrance of Christ? I am left speechless, Lord, before Your love and compassion. I long for that triumph, but I know I need to wait. It will come at the right time: Your time. In the meantime, please teach me to appreciate Your love and grace. Teach me how I may share that love with others who are hurt and are suffering even more than I am now. Let me be that fragrance in someone else’s life as well. Not for me, but for You.

Psalm 18:27-32
For You save an afflicted people, But haughty eyes You abase.  For You light my lamp; The LORD my God illumines my darkness.  For by You I can run upon a troop; And by my God I can leap over a wall.  As for God, His way is blameless; The word of the LORD is tried; He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him.  For who is God, but the LORD? And who is a rock, except our God,  The God who girds me with strength And makes my way blameless?

Psalm 92:1-5
 It is good to give thanks to the LORD And to sing praises to Your name, O Most High;  To declare Your lovingkindness in the morning And Your faithfulness by night,  With the ten-stringed lute and with the harp, With resounding music upon the lyre.  For You, O LORD, have made me glad by what You have done, I will sing for joy at the works of Your hands.  How great are Your works, O LORD! Your thoughts are very deep.

1 Corinthians 9:24
Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win.

Lord, I take this to mean that when I feel like giving up it is not the time for me to stop running. You have promised that I would have victory in You, so I must keep going on in order to win, or I will forfeit it all. I cannot give up, I must run, so that you may finish Your work in me and that Your victory may one day be manifest in me, too.

1 Corinthians 15:56-58
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law;  but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.  Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.

Thank you once again, Lord, for showing me what it is all about. I have been so concerned about me and what I feel that I almost lost sight of what it is really all about. Please, give me the strength I need to be steadfast, to not be shaken by my pain, but rather to remain constant in my desire to serve You and to minister to Your children. Don’t let me doubt again. Rather, keep firm in my mind Your words and the knowledge that in You no effort is wasted or in vain.

Romans 8:37
But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.

Philippians 3:7-9
But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ.  More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ,  and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith,

I know now that it is not about me. Instead, it is all about You, Lord. Please, accept my life as a testimony of Your grace. I am Yours now and forever.

On Our Value in Christ

I have asked myself so many questions that I almost lost my sense of identity. I could only see myself as a failure, as a person with no worth and nothing left to give. Then, Jesus reached out in His love to remind me that each human is of immense value to Him, including me. Not because He needs us, but because He wants us, because He has chosen us.

An auction. An old violin beaten and scarred by many years of abuse. No one would even bid a dollar for it for a while, then someone did. It was almost gone for three dollars, when someone stood up and walked up to that violin. He cleaned it, tied up its strings, and began to play a beautiful melody. When he had finished, the auctioneer asked if anyone would bid a thousand dollars, and someone did. Then, two, then three. . . . Shocked, some asked what changed the worth of the violin, and as the poem goes, “it was the touch of the Master’s hand.” I had heard the poem before, but I had never really applied it to myself so directly and clearly as now. Something’s value is often determined by how useful or desirable that object is, and most often by how much one is willing to pay for it.

John 1:1-3
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was in the beginning with God.  All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.

1 Corinthians 8:6
yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we exist through Him.

Colossians 1:16
For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him.

Jesus (John 1:14-17), the Word, was the One by whom and through whom all things were made. I ask myself, what could be the worth of “all things”? The worth of the entire universe is certainly impossible to estimate. Perhaps, one thing I can say is that its worth is almost infinite. Then, I ask myself how much Jesus’ life is worth. He made all things, so his life is surely worth more than all he made. So, I find myself thinking that his life has truly infinite value.

John 3:16-17
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.  “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.

These are more than beautiful words! Jesus himself did not come to this earth to condemn me, but to save me. I really don’t need to worry or fear, because He loves me so much as to give Himself for me.

Mark 10:45
For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.

A ransom is a payment. This means that Jesus gave His life in payment for mine. I must stop here to think. It is too great, too meaningful, too deep for my mind to grasp it. If His life’s worth is infinite and He gave it as a payment for mine, how much is my life worth now, in His eyes? Everything! Infinitely! By myself, I am truly worth nothing, but then here comes the Master, and He gives His life for me. He does not need me. I cannot add anything to Him. Yet, He still chooses me, He still loves me so much, as to give His own life for me. It is not my worth that gives me value, but His choice, His love, His grace!

This is nothing short of awesome. Perhaps now I am beginning to see why Paul could write to the Romans saying some of the most amazing and awesome words I have ever read or heard. Indeed they are words of life!

Romans 8:38-39
For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers,  nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 5:8
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 8:32
He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?

1 John 3:1
See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.

Ephesians 3:14-19
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father,  from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name,  that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man,  so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love,  may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth,  and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.

On God’s Presence in Times of Need

Psalm 40:17
Since I am afflicted and needy, Let the Lord be mindful of me. You are my help and my deliverer; Do not delay, O my God.

Psalm 46:1
God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble.

Psalm 33:20
Our soul waits for the LORD; He is our help and our shield.

Psalm 37:40
The LORD helps them and delivers them; He delivers them from the wicked and saves them, Because they take refuge in Him.

Psalm 119:173
Let Your hand be ready to help me, For I have chosen Your precepts.

Psalm 121:2
My help comes from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth.

Psalm 124:8
Our help is in the name of the LORD, Who made heaven and earth.

Isaiah 41:10
‘Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’

Isaiah 41:13
For I am the LORD your God, who upholds your right hand, Who says to you, ‘Do not fear, I will help you.’

Exodus 32:34
“But go now, lead the people where I told you. Behold, My angel shall go before you; nevertheless in the day when I punish, I will punish them for their sin.”

Psalm 34:7
The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear Him, And rescues them.

Isaiah 45:2
I will go before you and make the rough places smooth; I will shatter the doors of bronze and cut through their iron bars.

Deuteronomy 31:8
“The LORD is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”

2 Chronicles 20:15
and he said, “Listen, all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem and King Jehoshaphat: thus says the LORD to you, ‘Do not fear or be dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours but God’s.

Hebrews 4:16
Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Luke 12:12
for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.”

Psalm 25:9
He leads the humble in justice, And He teaches the humble His way.

Psalm 73:24
With Your counsel You will guide me, And afterward receive me to glory.

Psalm 32:8
I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you.

John 16:13
But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.

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