How’s Your Faith? Part 1 By Mary Southerland
How’s Your Faith? Part 1
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil (Psalm 23:4, NKJV).
Friend to Friend
The greenest grass is always found in the valley. Shepherds and sheep are well acquainted with the fact that both mountains and valleys are an inevitable part of life.
Remember – the shepherd has to figure out a way over the mountain and through the valley. If a sheep is injured, the shepherd must carry his sheep and tend to its wounds until they are healed and the sheep is ready to return to the fold. The shepherd’s whole world revolves around the safety and comfort of his sheep, even in the deepest valley.
Valleys are a certainty of life. Your job is eliminated. Your husband is having an affair, or your teenage daughter is pregnant. Financial pressure suffocates dreams, or the betrayal of a trusted friend inflicts a wound so deep and painful that you long for that valley of death. Each day is thick with fear, and your heart is filled with disbelief. The valley may suddenly stretch before you in a time of loneliness or in the shock of a dire medical diagnosis.
The death of a loved one can derail a life. The death of a long-held hope can plunge us into a slimy pit of despair and darkness. Dreams that have slowly died or relationships that have abruptly ended can leave us stranded and alone in our own personal valley of death.
While valleys may come in all shapes and sizes, one thing is certain—valleys will come. That being said, we must ask and answer the question, “How can we deal with the valleys in life?” We must respond with faith.
Don’t let that word – faith – frighten you. You have faith. You walk into a dark room and flip a switch, knowing that the light will come on. You sit in a chair, knowing it will support your weight. You buy a ticket and board a plane, trusting that aircraft to get you to your desired destination. Yes, you have faith. It is just a matter of where you place that faith that makes all the difference in the world. When you place your faith in God, a world of possibilities and impossibilities opens up.
Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”
It was advertised that the devil was putting his tools up for sale. When the day of the sale came, each tool was priced and laid out for public inspection. And what a collection it was. Hatred, envy, jealousy, deceit or pride…the inventory was treacherous.
Off to one side was a harmless-looking tool priced higher than all the rest, even though it was obviously more worn than any other tool the devil owned. “What’s the name of this tool?” asked one of the customers. “That,” the devil replied, “is discouragement.” The customer asked, “But why have you priced it so high?” The devil smiled and explained, “Because discouragement is more useful to me than all the others. I can pry open and get inside a man’s heart with that tool when I can’t get near him with any other. It’s badly worn because I use it on almost everyone, since so few people know it belongs to me.”
Are you discouraged…afraid…desperately trying to find enough energy to simply breathe? God knows. And He really is your shepherd. He understands that you may only be able to take one tiny, almost imperceptible step of faith. But He sees you, and just like a parent applauding their child’s first stumbling step, God will honor your choice to take it.
Father, I thank You for being my Shepherd. Please teach me how to rest in Your care and trust You no matter how high the mountains or how deep the valleys in my life may be. Today, I choose to rest in You.
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
By faith, accept the truth that God is always at work in your life and thank Him for His steadfast provision. Look back over the past few days, weeks and months of your life. Now praise Him for the things He has done.
Read Proverbs 3:5-6. What are the steps listed in this passage that – when taken – will help you walk by faith?