by Rick Warren — January 19, 2023
From Living in the Goodness of God
“Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.”
Psalm 23:4 (NIV)
In Israel, on the road from Jerusalem to Jericho, there’s a canyon called the Valley of the Shadow of Death. In his day, King David probably traveled through it many times. Some of the canyons along the road to Jericho were narrow at the bottom and as tall as 800 feet. The only time you could see sunshine at the bottom was at noon when the sun was straight overhead. In the Bible, valleys are often a metaphor for times of darkness, despair, defeat, or discouragement.
Psalm 23:4 says, “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me” (NIV). The Bible teaches that God is not just a part of your mountaintop experiences. He is also with you in the valleys. There are three things you need to remember about the valleys:
Valleys are a part of life. The Bible says in Deuteronomy 11:11, “The land you will soon take over is a land of hills and valleys” (NLT).
Valleys are inevitable. You likely just came out of a valley, are in the middle of one right now, or are headed into another one. There’s no way to avoid valleys while you’re on this Earth. Instead, you can count on them.
Valleys happen to everybody. They’re impartial. Good things happen to bad people, and bad things happen to good people. We live in a fallen and broken world, so we have problems. Nobody’s immune. Nobody’s insulated from pain. Nobody sails through life problem-free.
The Bible says, “The good man does not escape all troubles—he has them too. But the Lord helps him in each and every one” (Psalm 34:19 TLB).
Valleys are unpredictable. You can’t plan them. You can’t time them. Problems typically catch you off guard. In fact, your valleys and your problems usually come at the worst times—when you don’t have time, when you’re unprepared, and when it’s inconvenient. Wouldn’t it be easier if you could schedule all your valleys when you’re caught up on your sleep, your health is good, and nobody is bugging you? But life doesn’t work that way. Proverbs 27:1 reminds us, “Don’t brag about tomorrow, since you don’t know what the day will bring” (NLT).
When you know what to expect in the valleys of life, you know how to better prepare for them and keep trusting in God’s presence and provision.