WHEN LIFE HURTS
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil; for You are with me. - Psalms 23:4
I counseled with a man a few months back. He had just lost his wife of many years in a tragic accident. Although he was a committed Christian, he was still devastated, bewildered, angry, and, deep down, did not want to go on. It was hard seeing him so hurt, yet there was nothing anyone could do for him to take away the pain.
While not all of us experience the same tragedies in life, we can all relate to being hurt. We can all relate to rejection, abuse, ridicule, disappointment, betrayal, loss, fear, sadness, bad choices… and the list goes on.
NO ONE IS IMMUNE
King David was the only man in the Bible called “a man after God’s own heart” (Acts 13:22), yet he suffered hurt on many levels – misunderstood and hunted by King Saul, mocked and despised by his own wife, betrayed and hated by his own son, devastated by his own sin, and rejected by the people who chose to follow Absalom instead of David. Without question, David spent lots of time in the dark valley of the shadow of death.
But notice… he walked through that valley; he did not build a home there. He did not curse God and die there. He trusted God in the valley… and the Lord saw him through to the other side.
Why the dark valleys? Why all the hurts? Why all the storms in life? To show us that God is more than able to take the worst life can throw at us and turn it around for good.
Adrian Rogers used to say, “A faith that cannot be tested, cannot be trusted.” Our faith is not tested on the mountain top… it is tested in the valley. People watch you in the valley to see if your Jesus really does make a difference.
You and I will NEVER have a better opportunity to show the manifest presence of Jesus Christ to a lost and dying world than when we are hurting. If they can see a peace that passes understanding… a confidence that defies the circumstances… a joy that does not make sense… then they will begin to see Jesus in you and me and want what we have.
WHAT TO DO?
No matter how you may be hurting today, do not give up!! Do not give into the temptation to “curse God and die!” Even though you may not feel it or understand it, the Lord really does love you, and He still has a wonderful plan. Nothing can come into your life unless it first filters through His fingers of love.
Thank Him for the hurt. That’s right, thank Him for the hurt. Give it all to Him so He can use it for good. Remember, He promises to never leave you or forsake you (Heb. 13:5). He promises to give you “beauty for ashes” (Is. 61:3). Seek Him each day for strength to go on. Remind Him that He promised to be present in your valley. Ask Him to see you through!! He will do it, if you do not quit!
A HAPPY ENDING
My friend who came to me those many months ago with a load of hurt, he came back to see me just the other day, asking me to marry him and his fiancée. God has brought a beautiful, godly lady into his life. She also lost her spouse suddenly and unexpectedly a few years ago. Both of them refused to live in the valley. They sought God through the hurts and the tears and the lonely, dark nights… and God has brought them through.
He will do the same for you, my friend. He is a God who brings us through! It will not be immediate, for it takes time to heal… but it will be sure as you simply depend upon Him and say with Job, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him” (Job 13:15).
There is a light and a new life at the end of your dark valley! How do I know? Because He promised!!
Jeff Schreve is Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church in Texarkana, Texas. He and his wife Debbie have been married for almost 20 years and are blessed with three wonderful girls.
Jeff began From His Heart Ministries, a radio and television ministry, in January of 2005. This ministry is completely listener/viewer supported. It continues only through the faithful and generous gifts of people like you. Pastor Jeff takes no salary from this ministry.
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Pastor Jeff Schreve has shared many messages that have touched and encouraged people throughout the course of his ministry. In the REAL ONLINE FAVORITES collection, you will receive the most viewed online messages that have spoken to people over the past several years. Our hope and prayer is that these messages would speak new and afresh to you today.
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And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect (Rom. 12:2). Most, if not all, people struggle when it comes to knowing the will of God.