Leadership

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You’ve probably read Psalm 23 many, many times. I’ve preached it, and I have read it at many funerals or what people call Celebration of Life services.

Today, it needs to be read again. Psalm 23 provides encouragement for the valleys we face in life—and today, we’re facing some valleys. As the world lives in crisis, we’re facing increasing health and financial concerns. These are not just difficult days for those we’re serving in ministry and in the business and professional community.

 These are tough days for Christian and business leaders, too. 

Psalm 23 provides tremendous hope for what we’re experiencing. Through this chapter, God reminds us of three powerful truths we can cling to when we’re so deeply concerned about the present and future.

  1. We Are Not Alone! 

God is walking through the valley with us. Psalm 23:4 says, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me” (NASB).

You deal with life’s shadows by turning to the light. You can’t see the shadow and look at the light at the same time. Jesus said, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the Light of life” (John 8:12 NASB).

Stop focusing on what’s scaring you, and focus on Jesus. He is with you right now. When you get your focus off your fear, you can focus on God and what He wants to do through you. You won’t see Him, but He is there…and He sees you.

One of my favorite Bible passages that reminds me that I am not alone is, “…He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you. So we may boldly say: The LORD is my helper; I will not fear…” (Hebrews 13:5b, 6a NKJV)

Valleys are different for a believer than a non-believer. That difference isn’t the absence of the shadow. It’s the presence of the Shepherd.

  1. God Always Has a Purpose for Our Problems. 

Psalm 23 tells us over and over God works for our good. He gives us everything we need (v. 1), gives us rest (v. 2), gives us strength (v. 3), and leads us down the right path (v. 3). Psalm 23:6 says, Surely [Your] goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life…” (NASB).

The consistent message of Scripture is that God cannot do evil. As we go through these valleys together, we need to remember that God will use these difficult days for our good.

God loves to take the difficult times of our lives and use them to build our character. Paul tells us this in Romans 5:3-4: “We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation” (NLT). Hosea 2:15 says, ““I will transform the Valley of Trouble into a gateway of hope!” (NLT). God will do this through today’s valley as well. He will work it out for good.

As believers, we can be certain that there is a purpose in our pain.

  1. Our Reward Will Last Forever.

No matter what happens to our earthly bodies, this is not the end of the story. Heaven will be worth any valley we go through today. Psalm 23:6b, And I will dwell in the house of the LORD Forever.” (NKJV)

There we will be rewarded for our faithfulness during our time on earth.  The reward isn’t being in heaven but will be received in heaven!

The Bible says heaven is real—and we’ll be there forever. No valley, no matter how long it seems now, will last near that long.

2 Corinthians 4:17, 18 says, For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” (NKJV).

I don’t know how you’re experiencing this valley. I don’t know what fear keeps you up at night. Maybe you’re scared of getting sick. Maybe you’re scared of someone you love getting sick. Maybe you’re scared you’ll have to close your ministry, church, or your business.

I do know that you have a Good, Great, and Chief Shepherd all-in-one walking through this valley with you. I know God will work good out of this situation. I know the valley won’t last.

Take some time to soak in Psalm 23 today—not just for the people you’ll walk through this valley with but for yourself and your family as well.

We’ll walk through this valley together as we look at it in light of eternity. Revelation 21:4 tells us: [God] will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever” (NLT).

This is not the end of the story!

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Written by Stan Ponz
Dr. Stan Ponz is founder and president of Make It Clear Ministries (a national ministry that began in 1973 to help people take the Gospel and the Word of God into every person's world!). Stan also serves as President of Clarity Christian College. and is married to his high school sweetheart Carol, who led him to the Lord in 1966.