When the opportunity presented itself to move overseas, we spent much time in prayer before making the decision.
About a year in fact.
In time, we had the assurance that it was not only something that He wanted us to do, but something that we actually had to do.
Within months after our move overseas, news arrived that my best friend’s cancer had returned.
And soon, Angie, aged 31, passed away leaving her husband to raise their three preschool boys.
I needed to be there! And yet I was on a little island 7500 miles away!
I had followed God’s leading, but it hadn’t turned out like I expected.
In retrospect, I’ve found that to be a Biblical pattern.
Walking along the paths of righteousness
often lead us straight to the valley of the shadow of death.
It’s not that we are doing anything “wrong”, it’s simply the path we must travel to get to the banquet awaiting us on the other side.
“He guides me in the paths of righteousness…I walk through the valley of the shadow of death…You prepare a table before me.” (Psalm 23:3-5)
The valley of death has many dangers.
Darkness – the fear from being unable to see the future and prepare for it. (Job 30:26)
Wild Animals – the negative, faithless words that pounce and devour our vulnerability. (1 Peter 5:9)
Thieves – the critical emotions that beat us up from within and leave us half-dead (Luke 10:30)
Ever dealt with one or all along the way?
We can run, hide or back-track during our valley days, but the most effective position is staying close to the Shepherd.
Stare at Him long enough to for your eyes to dilate, especially in the darkness.
Practically, it means giving ourselves reminders of final reality.
Post His promises where you will read them often.
Then use those promises to remind Him often that He has to follow through with it.
I often repeat something like the prayer all throughout the day:
“Father, You promised You are greater than the world (John 4:4). Those are Your words, not mine. But in the midst of this situation, the force of _________ actually seem a lot greater than You do. I need to see Your strong Hand here. I need my eyes opened to be clearly understand just how powerful You really are. I’m banking on You doing just what You said. Don’t forget. Your character depends on this. Just what are You going to do?” (1 Thessalonians 5:24).
Going through the valley?
I’d love to pray for you.