Read: “A Quiet Space for Endings and Beginnings,” Quiet Spaces: Prayer Interludes for Women, pages 181-205.
There is no doubt that walking with God, praising your Creator every day, and talking about your Savior to others is a lot easier when things are going well. When you don’t see any catastrophes looming on the horizon, when each day is flowing along as it should, when there are no black holes to sink into, living the happy, abundant life of a Christian is a piece of cake.
But when things get dark—when events happen that knock you to your knees, when things beyond your control overtake you, when you feel that your world is spinning in the wrong direction and there’s nothing you can do to stop it—that’s when the Christian walk really takes a lot of work. That’s when you’re in the dark valley. Psalm 23 promises that when you walk in that dark valley, you do not walk the road alone. God is with you. But if you’re like me, in the midst of the darkness around you, it’s hard to find the hand of God holding you up.
Recently, my world was rocked, and for the past few months, I’ve been struggling through a dark valley. My husband has lost his mobility to such an extent that he is unable to walk even a few steps without support. It was a gradual thing, and although I knew he was finding it difficult to navigate, I didn’t worry too much about it. And then he fell. And fell again.
We had just finished renovating our little house, and it takes eighteen steps to get to it. Not eighteen steps all at once but in three tiers. And those eighteen steps lead to a gravel pathway to get to the parking lot—not that far but a lot farther than just out the front door. I loved my little house; I didn’t want to move. Not after we had agreed that our moving days were over. Yet, those eighteen steps were not going to go away.
So I found another house with no steps, and it was already set up for handicapped access. It would be an easy place for someone with a walker or wheelchair to live in. It needed a lot of work, more renovation. The garden was overgrown and weedy, and I had finally finished the gardens around our little house. I’d have to start all over.
My husband and I put our home up for sale, and I began working on getting the new house ready to move into. Deep inside, I was angry. Why had God let this happen? How was I going to manage everything by myself? How could we afford to make a move like this? I felt depressed and anxious and couldn’t seem to connect with God or feel the love of my Creator.
One morning, as I tried to clear some of the weeds out of the flower bed in the new garden, something caught my eye. I pushed aside the overgrown ivy and found a small plaque embedded in the dirt. It said, “Jesus sees you and he loves you.”
Jesus sees where you are hurting and he loves you.
Jesus sees where things are overwhelming you and he loves you.
Jesus sees who is creating chaos in your life and he loves you.
Jesus sees it all—every inch of the dark valley. He sees every stumbling block, every barrier, every pothole, and every hill. He sees you and he loves you.
My valley is still pretty dark, but it doesn’t have the same effect on me now. When I begin to doubt that God is with me, I remind myself, “Jesus sees me—right now, wherever I am, whatever I’m doing, in whatever I’m feeling—and he loves me.”