Though I Walk Through the Valley…
If there is one thing that I have come know while being in the ministry, it is that the fall and winter months tend to bring more darkness into a person’s life. Along with being a naturally dark period of time, the drab and dreary environment has the tendency to influence the souls of others. It is literally having a “cloud hanging over your head,” and it can be stifling. the joy of both the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons can be overshadowed by memories of lost loved ones, long hardships, and even the pain of depression.
A few years ago I felt this depression for myself. In southwestern Pennsylvania, the clouds can cover the skies for days before even the slightest ray of sunshine is able to pierce through. Many people feel the weight of living in the valley, both figuratively and literally. Where I lived was in a deep valley connected to the Monongahela River, and it really was a dark place. Depression seemed to run rampant there, and it also spread to me as well. at the time I was working in a hospital, and quite frankly most of the times I didn’t even want to go to work. I would just lay in bed, thinking that it was better to be asleep than to be awake.
If this sounds familiar then you are not alone. Depression and anxiety are problems that many people go through this world, and many individuals seem to lack the tools to cope with it. For those who are struggling with this terrible plight, know that there is hope in Jesus Christ. Millions of people around the world have been set free from the pull of these afflictions, and I believe that millions more will see that same freedom in the future.
How does this happen? What can we do to obtain a great peace that comes only from the Father? Well, the Scriptures are very clear that within our walk with Christ there is a peace that surpasses all understanding. Listen to what it says in Philippians 4:4-7:
4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Notice that this Scripture tells us ot do something prior to receiving the peace. We must first acknowledge the greatness of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We praise him and lift him up, thanking him for all of the great things that he has done. When we do that we will be reminded within our spirits of how great our God is, and that reminder will lead the Lord to soften and heal our hearts.
My friends, we do not have to worry about dark days ahead, because God already has that covered. His greatness goes beyond all of the darkness that can appear in our lives, and through praising Him we will bring that light into our lives. Have you given God praise lately?