"Even though I walk in the dark
valley I fear no evil; for you are at my side" (Psalm 23:4). The "dark
valley days"and seasons in my life are also within the scope of God's
providential plan for my life. Often the greatest relational growth takes
place in life when I am most acutely aware of my needing Him, and most acutely
aware of my mortality. I come to know Jesus most intimately when I
experience his closeness, his promises, and his "victory in the valley". In
the "valley of weakness" deep faith formation takes place:"Let the weak
man say, "I am a warrior!" (Joel 4:10); "For when I am weak, then I am
strong" (2 Cr.12:10):
"But, it was in the night,
through the storms of my life, Oh, that's where God proved His love
for me" (Ray Boltz, "The Anchor Holds" lyrics: Warner/Chappell music,
"dark valley formation" is about 'passing over' from the illusion of my life
being my own, to the truth of my belonging to God completely. It is about passing
over into the Father'sHands: "Father, into your hands I commend my spirit" (Luke
In the "valley of vulnerability"
Jesus stands by me as the One who has already passed through "the valley" of
his unique paschal night of death into the radiance of the resurrection:
"Night is the time when the history of salvation is achieved in a unique
fashion" (Dictionary of Biblical Theology, p. 390). We recognize this as
having been the case during the deliverance of the Israelites from the
Egyptians through the Red Sea. Even more so this is true of the one time
offering of the Lamb on the cross: "From noon onward, darkness came over the
whole land until three in the afternoon" (Mt. 27:45).
During his public ministry which
culminated in his paschal mystery Jesus 'drew the darkness to himself' in
order to confront it head on, and to spare sinful humanity. Only the Lamb
who is light can do this: "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me
will not walk in darkness, but will have thelight of life" (John
8:12). Now, Jesus desires to continue to live the mystery of his paschal
passage from death to life, through darkness to light, from within my own
Through my dark valley experiences I
learn to stand in thetruth that he is near me at all times;
hence, I learn how to walk in faith rather than in fear: "The LORD is my light
and my salvation; whom do I fear? The LORDis my life's refuge; of whom am I afraid?"
(Psalm 27:1). Through my dark valley formation I learn both an essential
empathy and an indispensable identification with hurting humanity--with those
who walk through their own "valley of mortal anguish". I learn to
intercede for them as one who understands: As one who walks with them as 'one
of their own'. In union with the Lamb I learn how to cry out to the Father
on behalf of others: "Out of the depths I call to you, Lord; Lord, hear my cry!
May your ears be attentive to my cry for mercy" (Psalm 130:1-2).
I recall a 'dark valley' experience in my life, and how I experienced the
Lord's presence in it?
I growing in my 'heart empathy' towards troubled-hurting humanity?
Any scripture from the text; Ex. 14:13; Psalm 139:12; Is.
43:1-2, 4; 1 John 1:5
TIME TO EXPIATE"
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