How to Survive The Valley of Shadow of Death

In today’s world, we are bombarded by fear, pain, and tragedy. Uncertainty in our political climate. Multiple mass shootings. Leadership scandals. They all lead us down a path that that ends with us questioning who God is and if he really loves us like he says. So what do we do when we find ourselves walking in the Valley of the Shadow of Death? It’s never easy, but there is hope. Let’s talk about how to get there.

Death, Darren A Cooper,

Growing up I always heard that God would never give you more than you could handle. I believed this to be true. Then again, my life didn’t have many bumps in the road so it was easy to believe. But as I get older I see more and more tragedy. Pain that passes my own understanding. My questions get bigger and my faith is forced to grow.

As you read this maybe you think of the mass shooting in Orlando. The 2-year-old that was attacked and killed by an alligator. Perhaps a personal tragedy you experienced recently. I know I could name a few things myself. This year alone my mother-in-law buried her 26-year-old daughter, her mother, and her sister all within a few weeks.

Real pain.

Real suffering. 

Real tragedy. 

What do we do when we find ourselves walking through the Valley of the Shadow of Death and there is no end in site? What do you do when God breaks your heart and everything you have ever known to be true is up for question?

Moving Forward

Well from someone who has spent a majority of this year in the valley, let me do my best to encourage you with some ideas I have learned.

But before I share them, let me first say that the pain you are experiencing is real. I won’t pretend to fully understand your situation. But I do know that some days it’s hard to even will yourself out of bed. It will take time, but I can promise you that you will make it.

You are not alone. Take some time to do these next steps and eventually (not immediately) you will find hope again. I promise.

Here are 3 things to do when you find yourself in the Valley of the Shadow of Death:

  1. Look Up

This is the best yet hardest step you will have to take. What I mean by “look up” is that you will have to release control to the one who is in control. You might not understand what he is doing. You might be so mad at him you could scream and cuss (maybe you should). But you have to take time every day to stop and let go. Tell God you don’t understand and that you are super mad. Say all of the things you feel you “shouldn’t” say. Then find a way to trust him. Even when you don’t feel it. Especially when you don’t feel it. No matter what you have to look up.

  1. Look Ahead

In the darkest part of my journey this last year the brightest light came from my brother. Every time I saw him he would ask me how I was. Most of the time he was met with my broken heart, but he understood. At the end of each rant, he would say the same thing. “How do you get through the valley of death? You keep walking.” Oh man, that would make me angry sometimes, but soon I would learn how true that statement was. The only way you can make it through the valley is to keep walking. Don’t set up camp. Grieve. But don’t stay there. Stand up and keep walking. No matter what you have to look ahead.

  1. Look Back

Now when I say look back I do not mean look back into the valley. I mean look back to the mountain top. That experience or time of life you once had. It’s really easy to forget the good when you are in the valley. We get so focused on how to escape our current situation that we forget where we were before. You haven’t always been in the valley and you won’t always be there. Say that again… You won’t always be in the valley. Take time to remember the mountain tops because that is where your hope to keep going will be found. No matter what you have to look back.

To make it through the valley you have to look up, look ahead, and look back. Click To Tweet

Wrapping Up

Like I said above, I know your pain is real and that it doesn’t make sense. I know you question God and you have spent every waking hour trying to figure out how to get beyond your situation. I get it. But hopefully, these 3 steps above give you the hope need for the rest of your journey. They are simple but very helpful. They carried me through the darkest time of my life. They still are.

Question: How have you made it through the Valley of the Shadow of Death? 


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