Loss is a common source of stress. We can lose our job, our health, our money, our reputation, or a loved one.
When people go through loss, we see two common reactions: One is fear, and the other is grief. Grief is good. Grief is the way we get through the transitions of life. In fact, if we don’t grieve, we get stuck! Grief will not kill us if we let it out.
On the other hand, fear is a bad thing. Not once does the Bible say, “Grieve not,” “Mourn not,” “Weep not,” or “Cry not.” What it does say is, “Fear not.” And it says that 365 times! Grief doesn’t paralyze, but fear does!
David says in Psalm 23:4, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”
Shepherds always carried a rod and a staff to protect their sheep. David knew that in the same way, God has the tools to protect him, and he trusted God, even in the darkest valleys.
We might be going through the valley of the shadow right now and it maybe the valley of the shadow of death. It may be the valley of the shadow of debt. It may be the valley of the shadow of conflict. It may be the valley of the shadow of depression. It may be the valley of the shadow of discouragement.
Shadows are scary. Remember being afraid of shadows when we were lying in bed as kids? I’ve learned a few things about shadows.
First, shadows can’t hurt us.
Second, shadows are always bigger than what is making the shadow.
And here’s more good news: Wherever there’s a shadow, there has to be a light. You can’t have a shadow without light. So, the key when you’re going through the valley of the shadow is to turn your back on the shadow and look at the light. Because as long as you keep your eyes on the light—Jesus, the light of the world—the shadow won’t scare us. Since accepting the light of Jesus in my life, I have grown to not want any kind of darkness, whether it be the dark of night, the dark of a room, or the darkness of what it is in the world.
That’s how you go through the valley of the shadow of death. That’s how you lower your stress. You trust God in the dark valleys, just like David, who prayed, “When I am ready to give up, he knows what I should do” (Psalm 142:3)
My Challenge for us today is to choose to get out of the darkness into the light of Jesus!