Best of Daily Reflections: In the Darkest Valley

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
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Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.

Psalm 23:4

We are in difficult financial times, and our own emotional well-being often sinks with the Dow Jones Industrial Average. In times such as these, Psalm 23 offers reassurance to stressed-out, fearful people. When we are in the darkest valley, God is close beside us. When we feel afraid of dangers all around, God offers protection and comfort. Does this mean we who trust in the Lord will never experience life’s woes? Of course not. But it means that God will always be with us in hard times and that our ultimate well-being is firmly established by God’s own trustworthy care.

Several years ago, a friend of mine whom I’ll call “Ron” lost almost all of his wealth. He had been highly successful in his business, and had been well compensated for his efforts. But a series of mishaps changed his fortune, literally. Ron and his wife were forced to sell their magnificent home in a severe downsizing effort. In time, their investments were shrinking as they were forced to live off what they had previously set aside for their retirement.

When I found out about Ron’s situation, I reached out to him in genuine concern. But Ron’s response startled me. “Never have I been more assured of God’s care for me,” he said. “Never before in my life have I been more excited about what God is doing in my life.” Ron went on to describe with enthusiasm the abundant evidence of God’s presence and blessing in his life.

Ironically, it sometimes takes a trip into the “darkest valley” to help us pay attention to God. When our comfort and security are stripped away, we turn to the Good Shepherd who is always with us to offer his protection and peace.

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: What have been the darkest valleys of your life? Did you experience God’s presence in those times? If so, how? What helps you to know God is with you when you’re in the darkest valley?

PRAYER: Gracious God, for many people today, the economic crisis has sent us into the darkest valley. We wake up in the middle of the night with worries that won’t be calmed. Each day brings new headlines that fuel our fears.

Help us, dear Lord, to know that you are with us even in scary times. May we trust you so that we are not afraid. May we sense your protection and feel your comfort.

Today I want to pray specifically for people who have lost their jobs or realize that they may soon do so; or for those who have seen their investments plummet in value and worry about their future or for others who are experiencing the sorry impact of the economic downturn. Dear Lord, help them in tangible ways. But even more than this, I ask that you make your presence known to them. May they feel the peace that surpasses understanding, even today. Amen.