Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou [art] with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. – (King David) Psalms 23
Many of us have read this verse or heard it recited at a funeral in consolation to the bereaved family. This Psalm is sung often to encourage anyone that is suffering with severe sickness or facing dangerous situations, but I want to provide another view of this song of hope. Let’s face it, we are all dying, some just more imminently than others. We face life threatening situations on a daily basis, travelling in a metal projectile at 70 miles per hour down the highway. The valley of the shadow of death is not just about cheating physical death. Often we find ourselves in dead-end jobs, dead-end relationships, and walking among dead-end friends. Is it possible that the shadow of death extends it’s menacing silhouette over the living more than the dying?
In his book, “Peaks and Valleys“, Spencer Johnson states, “Valleys are times when we long for what is missing.” This longing for love, purpose, companionship, or attention, can be very trying and emotional. Many people struggle with depression as a result of these long and winding valleys, and slowly hope starts to die. It has been said that we can live for weeks without food, days without water, but without hope we will surely die soon. Millions of us find ourselves at some point walking through a personal valley of hopelessness. As the psalmist wrote, the biggest danger of hopelessness is becoming afraid…afraid to try, afraid to believe, afraid to trust and forge ahead. Fear is paralyzing, and when we stop moving we start dying. Notice in the psalm that David was walking through the valley, not standing, or sitting. Action conquers fear, so we like David must learn to talk ourselves into action and over fear.
As we build and expand our community, we undoubtedly will meet many people walking though valleys of despair. Families are falling apart, millions are in financial distress, our freedoms are being eroded, and many have lost faith in God, but we bring hope. Not because you or I have been endowed with valley survival skills from birth, but because you and I are a part of LIFE. Our founders and leaders have learned to overcome the valleys encompassed in the 8F’s, and we that are walking through, can learn a new language of hope and reliance upon God. I subscribe to all three LIFE subscriptions because I know that I cannot afford to revert back to fear and paralysis in my life. I must forge ahead, and I need monthly, weekly and daily reminders of the greatness that God has planted within me. LIFE is guaranteed to bring us many valleys, but we here on TEAM/LIFE have come to find comfort in knowing that God is our refuge, and His principles found in the Bible, serve as a foundation for our business. Keep walking, don’t be afraid, and find comfort not in escaping the valley, but in learning from the experience.