Experiencing significant life changes like death or job loss can feel like traversing through a desolate valley. During these seemingly insurmountable times, it's not uncommon for feelings of despair, fear, and uncertainty to shroud our existence. Yet, these moments test and strengthen our faith in Jesus Christ. Our faith shines as a beacon of hope amid adversity and navigates us through the darkest valleys. I attended my Grandma Penny's funeral yesterday. She loved Jesus.
The harsh sting of death remains one of life's most profound trials. It can be an encounter with the icy winds of grief, ushering a cold, impenetrable silence. Losing a loved one brings pain and sorrow that feels as infinite as the valley. But amid this heartache, we find solace and strength in Jesus. He said, "Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted." (Matthew 5:4 NIV). Jesus empathizes with our suffering and promises comfort and consolation. His resurrection provides hope beyond the grave, a hope that extends beyond the shadowed valleys of death, promising an eternal dawn.
Loss of a job is a different kind of valley, where insecurity and frustration replace the structure and predictability of daily life. For many, a job provides financial stability and a sense of purpose and identity. Losing it can induce a tumultuous struggle within us. However, The Holy Bible teaches us, "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." (Romans 8:28 NIV) The valleys of unemployment are not barren; they are fertile grounds for growth, resilience, and redirection, often revealing God's bigger and better plans for us. I've lost jobs, clients and been in the valley. Those are the moments my faith comes in to give me peace, joy, and confidence.
John 16:33 NIV
"I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."
James 1:2 NIV
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds,
Jeremiah 17:7 NIV
"But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord,
whose confidence is in him?
Faith in Jesus is our compass, guiding us through these valleys of trials. Our faith becomes an anchor, steadying us in the stormy seas of loss. It becomes the light, illuminating our path when all around us is pitch darkness. Jesus is our shepherd, leading us beside quiet waters, restoring our souls, and guiding us along the right paths (Psalm 23:2-3 NIV). No matter how dark the valley may be, we are never alone. Brandon Lake sings, "'Cause the darker the night gets, The brighter the light hits" in Don't You Give Up on Me.
However, having faith does not imply that we will not experience hardships, nor provide immunity against life's trials. The Bible acknowledges the reality of suffering while continually affirming God's unending love and faithfulness. The psalmist encourages us: "Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me." (Psalm 23:4 NIV)
In the darkest valleys of life – whether they involve the death of a loved one or the loss of a job - we are assured that Jesus is with us. Our faith in Him provides the strength to endure, the hope to believe, and the grace to heal. These experiences, as painful as they might be, refine our faith and draw us closer to Jesus. They remind us that we are more than our sufferings and losses. In the grand tapestry of life, these valleys, daunting as they may be, are passageways leading us to a higher plain closer to God.
In the valley, we discover the depth of our faith and the extent of God's love. Each step we take, every tear we shed, is met with divine compassion and understanding. Jesus guides us, giving us the strength to traverse through the valley and into His loving embrace. When we walk with Jesus, even the darkest valley can lead to the brightest dawn. Be the Light.