In this sermon, Dr. Charles Stanley discusses the inevitable valley experiences that all believers will face in their lives. He explains that these valleys are not the norm, but they are a necessary part of our spiritual growth. Stanley also discusses the three reasons why believers go through valley experiences: our own disobedience, the actions of others, and God’s divine purpose. He encourages believers to trust God through the valley experiences and to find comfort in His presence. Order this sermon today:…


for more content Subscribe for more Dr. Stanley sermons, daily devotions, and bible studies Radio Classics are sermons from Dr. Stanley’s radio ministry released to encourage and build your relationship with Jesus Christ.


with a message from God’s word here’s

Charles Stanley

I’ll text for this message is probably

the most familiar passage in all the

Bible in fact I can remember when I was

a school kid that everybody had to

memorize this passage and usually you

will hear this passive scripture read at

almost every single funeral oftentimes

it is read with the bedside of someone

who is very very ill and I’m sure that

many of us have read the stories of men

in war who in times of great fear pulled

out their little pocket New Testament in

the back of which was the Psalms and

they began to read

out of fear Desiring courage and the

presence of God to read the Lord is my

shepherd I shall not want so would you

turn to the 23rd psalm and I want us to

read this Psalm this one particular

phrase and facet in here that I want us

to deal with and the title of this

message is the believer’s ballet

experiences the believer’s valley

experiences and if we all read out of

the same version we just all stand up

read it together but since we have many

different ones it probably wouldn’t make

a lot of sense so beginning in verse one

the Lord is my shepherd I shall not

want. he makes me to lie down in Green

Pastures he leads me beside Quiet Waters

he restores my soul

he guides me in the paths of

righteousness for his name’s sake

even though I walk through the valley of

the shadow of death

I fear no evil for thou art with me thy

rod and thy staff they comfort me

thou prepares the table before me in the

presence of mine enemies thou has

anointed my head with oil my cup

overflows surely goodness and

loving-kindness will follow me all the

days of my life and I will dwell in the

house of the Lord forever

well as we think about this particular

Psalm I want to look at if you will at

the fourth verse and notice what he says

in this fourth verse even though I walk

through the valley of the shadow of

death I fear no evil for thou art with

me thy rod and thy saith they comfort me

often times in the Bible Daly’s are

indications or symbols of times of

difficulty hardship trial suffering and


and I want us to look at this passage in

the light of that title and that is the

believer’s valley experiences and I want

to say three things primarily and the

first one is this that Valley

experiences are inevitable in the life

of every believer Valley experiences are

inevitable in the life of every believer

for example if you have mountains you’re

going to have valleys you can’t have a

mountain peak without a Valley now most

of us would like for our Christian Life

to be from Peak to Peak wouldn’t we we

just like to go from Peak to Peak and

somehow be able to avoid the valleys but

you can’t have a mountain pig without

having a valley

topographically as far as that land is

concerned where you’ve got beautiful

mountains you’ve got valleys and the

same thing is true in the life of the

believer there are going to be those

Valley experiences in our life and if

you’ll notice in this passage how he

begins he says

the Lord is my shepherd I shall not want

and then what we have is this beautiful

description of the shepherd leading the

Sheep Into The Meadows on the hillsides

he says

he makes me the lie down in Green

Pastures leads me beside Quiet Waters

restores my soul guides me the paths of

righteousness and then notice verse 4 I

have it says it he says even though I

walked through the valley of the shadow

of death even though I do that which is

his way of saying it’s not the norm God

does not intend for us to live in The

Valleys or that’s our normal way of life

but there will be those seasons in our

life those times in our life those

experiences that become Valley

experiences times of difficulty hardship

trial pain rejection you name it they’re

there and so what he’s saying In this

passage here even though I walk through

these he says I will fear of No Evil

notice the full words he mentions in

that fourth verse he speaks of Shadows

of death of fear and of evil all four of

those indicate something to us about the

nature of the walk in the valley and so

when he says even though I walk in the

Valley of the shadow of death he’s

talking about hardship and pain and

suffering and trials and tribulations

and heartaches and burdens that we go

through in life that oftentimes we feel

hopeless oftentimes we feel helpless and

no matter what anybody does we feel

absolutely totally dependent upon God or

if that person is not a Believer they

have to do something else to find out

how to help themselves through the

valley experiences this is why the bars

are filled in the afternoons about five

o’clock they call that the happy hour it

certainly is not a happy hour if you

look around you’ll notice if you’re in a

restaurant they don’t look all that

happy but what they’re doing is trying

to escape the valley experiences that

they’re going through and think about a

person who is not a Believer a person

who doesn’t have God to turn to and then

when the bottom drops out then when they

go through some Valley experience in

life what do they do they have to drink

they have to take pills they have to do

something they have to have some kind of

experiences or Affairs of some sort in

order to get their mind off of the pain

off of the hurt off of the rejection off

of the loneliness off of those

Indescribable feelings which they are

trying to avoid so what he’s saying In

this passage is simply this

all of us are going through some of

these experiences in our life it may be

because of finances it may be because of

family it may be because of Health it

may be because of vocation or whatever

it might be there’s no such thing as

living in this life without daily

experiences one of the reasons for that

is because of the end result of those

Valley experiences which we’ll come to a

little bit later

you and I live in a world of sin and of

evil there are two forces fighting each

other and that is the forces of

righteousness and the forces of evil

likewise there are situations and

circumstances in life that thrust us

oftentimes into those Valley experiences

and so as I think about it one of the

things that I want to mention here and

discuss is the fact

that there are reasons and why is it we

end up in bad experiences now if you’re

wise this morning you’ll get your pencil

piece of paper out and you won’t miss a

lot of this because I want to tell you

if you’re sitting here today and you’re

single I’ve never been through one of

those then my dear friend get ready

because there is no such thing as

walking on a mountain peak without

hitting the valley there are ballots in

their life and their ballots there for

several reasons so let’s talk about

first of all why we go through these

difficult trying times that are so

painful so heart-wrenching and so

unbelievably uh

causing us to feel so helpless well one

of the reasons is this and that is the

Sheep Strays away from the shepherd for

example if the Sheep Strays away from

the shepherd they’re going to stray

usually in the wrong places and so when

we choose to be disobedient to God we

choose to transgress this law to violate

his principle what happens is we end up

in the valley so one of the reasons we

get there is we get there by our own

decisions a second reason we may end up

in a valley experience is because of the

actions of some other people or someone


for example a fellow said to me this

week he was telling me about his

vocation and he was doing his job he was

faithful he was well respected in his

particular vocation doing a good job and

because of his conviction and because he

felt like he had to make a statement of

where he was what he could and could not

do they fired him just like that with no

warning so suddenly he found himself in

the valley he had a family to take care

of no job and no income so oftentimes

it’s because of someone else’s decisions

or their actions and then there’s a

third reason we get in the valley and

that’s this that’s because the shepherd

leads us into the valley you see the

reason we get into these Valley

experiences are not always because of

what we do or what someone else does

sometimes it is God’s design for our

life now as a result of that what he

does he leads us into a place and leads

us the way he desires to get us where he

wants us to be one way is the way most

of us would like to go in light when we

see a difficulty what we’d like to do is

we would like to walk around the pain

and the hurt and the suffering and the

trial and the tribulation and rejection

and get there that’s one way and you can

get there that way sometime

but sometime when the Good Shepherd the

Bible calls him is leading us here’s

what he does he knows he could lead us

around that way that’s no problem with

him he knows that’s the path around that

way but you see what he has in mind is a

purpose over here for our life and

because that purpose is so clear and

that destination is so clear to him he

chooses God in his grace and goodness

and love chooses not to lead us the easy

path but to lead us into the valley of

difficulty hardship trial pain and

intense suffering like we have never

experienced before we get to the same

place but this is the most difficult way

sometimes it’s a deep dark treacherous

Valley notice what he said he said

valleys of Shadow death fear evil these

things indicate something about the

difficulty of that Valley

sometimes we’re in the valley because

God in his wisdom chooses to lead us the

most difficult way to arrive at the

destination for which he wants us and so

when he says here that even though we

walk through the valley of the shadow of

death even though we do it and I want

you to remember also what he says In

this passage and if you’ll notice two

things here and sometimes What God Says

what he doesn’t say is as powerful as

what he does say look at that verse he

does not say this he doesn’t say even

though I may walk through the valley

even though I might do it no even though

I walk because friend it is inevitable

that experiences are absolutely

inevitable in the life of every single


notice something else he doesn’t say he

doesn’t say even though I even though I

run rush and hurry through the valley

now that’s the way I like to get through

them I want to run through them quickly

in fact the truth is I’d like to put on

the blindfold and just run through it

right quick and not hear anything and

see anything and feel anything just get

through that guy just get me through

that God but you know what he said even

though I what walk through the valley

and that may not not might even though I

walk through the valley of the shadow of

death and so

when he makes this statement what he’s

simply saying is this it’s going to

happen and I remember meeting a lady one

time went to her home and her sister was

there and her mother and she was dying

of uh some disease I’ve forgotten

exactly what it was I remember what she

told me she said you know all of my life

I thought everybody had it the way I had

it and she drove the finest automobile

she had plenty of money everything in

the world anybody could ever imagine and

here she was in her late 30s dying and

she died about two weeks later and she

said you know I guess my life was such

that I just thought everybody had it the

way I had it

no they don’t

and what I discovered is in the last few

weeks there are more people hurting with

more pain and more suffering and more

hurt than I’ve ever discovered in my


because all of a sudden when somebody

feels that somebody else is hurting then

they somehow feel the freedom and the

Liberty to say you know I’m hurting too

and I want to tell you about my hurts

well these Valley experiences are a part

of every single believer’s life and

there is no way to escape them sometimes

we try but there’s no way and so when he

says even though I walk through the

valley of the shadow of death I will

fear no evil thou art with me

he is giving us the most important part

of this whole passage of scripture this

is the most important part because if

you’ll think about it for a moment he

says the Lord is my shepherd I shall not

want wonderful

and he says he’s going to take us to

Green Pastures Quiet Waters

restore our soul and guide us in the

paths of righteousness but you know what

suppose you read that whole Psalm and he

talks about preparing a table before us


head being annoyed with oil and kept

running over suppose he left out this


thou art with me

if he left out that part

the heart and the core of this Psalm

would be missing because that’s what

this Psalm is all about it is a Psalm of


and of assurance and of reminding of us

that we’re going to go through those

experiences of life that are so

difficult and painful and hard that the

only thing we have is God and so I just

want to say to you today that no matter

what experience you’re going through

whatever it might be ask yourself the

question God why am I here number one

and secondly

Lord what is your goal and so I want to

say this two or three times in this

message if you think you’re going

through a valley or you think you’re

just getting ready to head into it and

sometimes you don’t walk into it you

drop into it you don’t just sort of find

your way from The Meadows and the

mountain down to the valley suddenly

you’re from the mountain peak all the

way to the depths of the valley and what

you have to ask is father

what is your goal for this Valley

experience in my life and father how am

I to respond to this Valley experience

in my life those are always the wise to

question to ask number one father what

is your goal and second the Lord how am

I to respond to this Valley experience

so the first thing I want you to notice

here and that is that Valley experiences

are absolutely inevitable in the life of

every person it doesn’t make any

difference how old you are one of these

days you’re coming through them make

sometimes how rich you are how poor how

educated or uneducated where your status

is in life Valley experiences difficulty

hardships trials suffering pain it is

always going to be times and seasons in

our life the second thing I want you to

notice that’s very evident here and that

is this and that is that daily

experiences are painful times in our


painful times in our life look at this

passage look at look at the words in

this verse he says

the shadow of death

fear Evil all of these indicate

something’s going on now

these four words indicate something of

the nature of the valley notice he said

Green Pastures Quiet Waters guided paths

restored refreshed soul and even though

I walk through the valley

of the shadow of death I will fear no


you see this isn’t just some little pain

you get with a toothache or a bad cold

we’re talking about intense kind of pain

that happens when a person goes through

a valley as I say whatever the reason it

may be something of your own doings it

may be something that somebody else has

caused or it may be that God has chosen

to lead us through that Valley whatever

it might be the pain is still going to

be there and so when I look at that and

think about the kind of pain we’re

talking about here

and what he says when he speaks about

values that indicates something of a

shadow of something of uncertainty when

he talks about death something of

Destruction something that is

threatening when he talks about fear

anxiety and Dread and when he talks

about evil a threatenings uh Temptations

all that go along with that and they’re

those periods and seasons of time for

some reason God may allow it or it is

our own doings here’s what we have to

think about we’re not talking about

little little pains a little hurts here

and there we’re talking about the kind

of intense pain that is Indescribable

we’re talking about the kind of hurt

that you cannot describe to someone else

we’re talking about the kind of

hopelessness and helplessness that words

cannot express deep dark valleys that he

would oftentimes lead us through and so

we’re talking about a degree of distress

that is more than just a little distress

a deep degree of tension and feeling it

in your whole physical body as well as

your emotion and your spirit everything

on that gets inside of you gets tested

and that is there seems to be some kind

of awesome invasion of your innermost

being your innermost Spirit the deepest

part of you and When You Weep you don’t

weep from your from your eyes You Weep

from your spirit deep down inside there

is a pain that is Indescribable in some

walks in the valley and so when he says

yea though I walk through the valley of

the shadow of death we’re not talking

about some little testing of the faith

that ends up today and it’s just a

matter of time maybe a few days that’s

all over yea though I walk through the

valley of the shadow of death

and the reason he put that word in it

because he wanted to emphasize the

intensity of the pain and the and the

alarming threat that we face when we

walk through that Valley even though I

walk through the valley of the shadow of

death now there are a couple of things

about this Valley I want us to look at

and first of all I want to mention the

fact of the length of that ballot

sometimes the valley is short sometime

it’s long for example here’s the person

who goes to the doctor and

the doctor says you have a terminal


and two weeks later a month later they

found out it was a wrong diagnosis and

so that was a short-lived Valley praise

the Lord

or sometimes a person like the one I

mentioned a few moments ago they lose

their job and they get have no prospects

for a couple of weeks or three weeks it

looks like it’s going to be a long drawn

out process and out of the blue somebody

calls them says I’m looking for somebody

who has your qualifications they’re out

of the valley they would be great if all

valleys were that short but they’re not

and sometimes the doctor says to the

person you have cancer

and the type that you have

there’s no cure for it one month

two months six months nine months one

year 18 months two years the hurt the

pain the suffering all the anger that

they go through all the guilt all the

anger to a God all the emotions that

crop up in someone’s life who goes to

that kind of awful experience two years

two and a half years three years their

family watches them die a day at a time

that isn’t a short valley

and that’s no painless Valley that is a

deep dark painful ballet that only a

person who’s been there understands

and my friend before you walk up to

someone else instead of them well I’m

just praying to you and I understand be


you do understand where they are because

you see I’m not sure anybody understands

where someone else is until they’ve been

where they are

and even then I want you to remember

something that God does not work in any

two people’s lives the same way no two

valleys are the same for anyone now that

is a similar but no two people’s values

are the same and so when you and I want

to console someone we have to be sure

when we say I know what you’re going

through I know how you feel be sure you

know how they feel and what they’re

going through because you’ve been there

there are some values that are very long

very painful very dark very treacherous

little hope there are some values that

are short we would all like for them to

be short but since we’re not sovereign

and God is he’s the one who determines

how long and how short they are and what

is it that determines how long and how

short they are first of all his purpose

for allowing us to be in the valley and

secondly our response to being in the


but there’s a second thing about the

valve not on the length of time but the

second thing is that is the difference

in the depth of that Valley some valleys

are very very deep listen to what he

says even though I walk to the Valley of

the shadow of death

some valleys are very deep and very dark

now I’ve had the wonderful privilege of

traveling lots of places and and not

climbing to the top of but climbing up

to a comfortable place in enough

mountains and to be able to see at

distances from the peaks of some


I love the mountains and I love the


some valleys are beautiful some valleys

are very deep and some are dark and


and when we talk about the depth of the

valley again it depends on what God’s up

to in our life

and when he talks about yea though I

walk through the valley of the shadow of


that indicates that there are some

valleys that are very very threatening

to us that set off alarms in US those

values that we have to walk through very

very carefully that we make every step

the right step that we have to have

wisdom the wisdom of the Good Shepherd

to guide us through it step by step

because on different occasions people in

Dallas traveling

take the wrong step fall hurt themselves

and sometimes break a leg or break a arm

or whatever it might be

there’s some ballots that are very dark

and very treachers the same thing is

true in the spiritual walk there are

some that are very dark and very

treacherous and we have to be extremely

careful and I think all of us could

probably think about some ballots that

we’ve been through difficult trying

times painful times in our life

and as I thought about this week in

preparing this message things in the

past of my life that I thought were dark

valleys and deep times of of heartache

and trouble and trial and pain

then I thought about something that I

read some time ago that someone had

written about the fact that the older

you get that the older you become in

life and the longer you live the more

difficult your trials become I remember

thinking about that well it looks like

to me the longer you live and the more

faith that you have the simple adult to

be and so you know it ought to be

sometime out there where they don’t get

quite as difficult

and then I thought about my mom and I

watched her die a day at a time and I

thought that was the deepest darkest

Valley that I’d probably ever go in my

life because I watched her day by day

just sort of dwindle away until finally

the Lord took her that was a very

painful Valley for me extremely painful

I hurt I wept I cried and I cried and I

cried I heard on the inside I heard on

the outside

and no matter what anyone said to me

only God could comfort me and at times

that was very difficult

and then

I stepped into another Valley

and I want to tell you my friend

there is no pain

and no hurt

to equal this Valley

there is no intensity of pain that I

could ever describe

that can describe the pain when you are

torn away

from something that you love very very

dearly someone that you love with all of

your heart

there is no way to describe the

intensity of that pain

and so when somebody talks about I

understand how you feel I’m not sure any

of us can fully understand how anybody

else feels in certain Valley experiences

because they’re all different and all of

our circumstances are different

but he says yea though I walk through

the valley of the shadow of death

because there’s some things in this life

that are far worse than physical death

and that is emotional pain

that wrenches you and tears at you and

almost destroys everything inside of you

there is a pain more intense than I can


I thought I knew what pain was like but

I’m sure that I didn’t and therefore I

would not say even now that I know what

it’s like because there must be some

pain even greater than that I don’t know

what it is may God spare me of it at

least for a while and I think about

he says the Lord is my shepherd I shall

not want.

well I have to ask myself the question

Lord if you’re my shepherd why would you

lead me through this Valley

yet I know that he’s an omniscient

Shepherd all wise and he always does the

right thing and what he said in Romans 8

28 is always true that our God is

engineering our circumstances and

directing our path in such a way that

will bring honor and glory to his name

upon two conditions which I’ll come to


and so one thing I know for sure about

the ballet that because he said

thou art with me this much I know there

is always a limitation on the depth of

that Valley and this is why I think what

the Old Gentleman said when he said that

our values oftentimes get deeper he

didn’t put in those words that’s what he

meant it’s because when you and I are 21

we can we can handle

a sort of a shallow Valley

when we’re 41 we can go a little deeper

when we’re 61

we can go a lot deeper

and since I’m not 81 yet

I don’t know how deep it can get in the

80s but I can imagine it could get

extremely deep

and dark and treacherous

and lonely and hard and painful

and indescribable

but this much I know there is a limit

and the same Jesus who said

I am the Good Shepherd

and I love the Sheep the Sheep know me

and I know them and they follow me the

same one who said my sheep hear my voice

and I know them and they follow me and I

give unto them eternal life and they

shall never perish neither shall anyone

pluck them out of my hand the father and

I are one this much I know that in the

valley no matter how treacherous and

painful and difficult nobody can take

your hand out of the hand of the Good

Shepherd because you see in the valley

you’re not not holding on to him for

dear life the Good Shepherd

has taken us by the hand and it doesn’t

make any difference

it doesn’t make any difference if I let


thank God he never lets go it doesn’t

make any difference how dark it is how

fearful it is whatever alarms set off in

your soul how absolutely intense the

pain and how much the tears he never

lets go he says Thou Art with me thy rod

and thy staff they comfort me

what a wonderful phrase in that song

without it it wouldn’t be anything with

it it’s everything and so when we think

about the depths of it it doesn’t make

any difference how deep it is as long as

I walk through it hand in hand with a

Good Shepherd who is the Lord Jesus

Christ why is that why do I not need to

be afraid for this reason if you’ll turn

to John chapter 10 he said it better

than I could John chapter 10 is the

passage of scripture that is

the Good Shepherd discourse about Christ

listen to what he says in this 10th

chapter and this is why when he says yea

though I walk through the valley the

shadow of death I will fear no evil why

here’s the reason because the Good

Shepherd who is walking with us said


verse 11 I am the Good Shepherd the Good

Shepherd lays down his life for the


verse 14 I am the Good Shepherd and I

know my own and my own know me

in verse 27 as we quoted my sheep hear

my voice I know them and they follow me

and I give eternal life to them and they

shall never perish and no one shall

snatch them out of my hand

my father who’s given them to me is

greater than all and no one is able to

snatch them out of my father’s hand the

father and I want you know why you and I

can walk through the valley without fear

because this I know if Jesus Christ

loved me enough and loves you enough to

lay down his life at the cross 2000

years ago that was the ultimate test of

his love

and if he laid down his life two

thousand years ago I don’t have to worry

about him holding my hand all the way

through the valley so he says yea though

I walk through the valley of the shadow

of death I will fear no evil but thou

art with me now the valley experiences

he describes it here one thing is so

evident is that the Good Shepherd Is

Watching Over Us and caring for us all

the way through that walk

sometimes that walk is probably very


because it is treacherous sometimes that

walk may not be quite so slow it depends

on what his purpose is and what he’s

trying to achieve in our life but he’s

the one who’s overseeing it and he’s the

one who has said the key statement thou

art with me thy rod and thy staff they

comfort me because the Sheep are seeing

the rod that to beat off the wild wild

animals the staff of the crook to reach

out and pull the Sheep back when he’s

getting too close to the edge all that’s

symbolical of his caring now the

question comes how do we oftentimes

respond and what is our reaction when we

get in the bell and people respond in

different ways

and so you must not ever judge somebody

else’s response because first of all you

don’t know the intensity of their pain

second you don’t know what God’s purpose

is in their life and so oftentimes we’re

quick to judge someone else’s response

to the valley and how they’re going

through that Valley and what’s happening

to them and you know most everybody has

advice for anybody who’s hurting about

anything and everybody’s got advice well

I do this and I do that you ought to do

this and you ought to do that and the

thing you have to listen to is what God

is saying and what does God want you to


and so here’s what happens here’s how

people respond sometimes they respond in

panic oh my God what shall I do now I

want you to listen carefully what I’m

going to say because I’m going to say

one of the most important parts of this

message in a moment sometimes people

respond in panic sometimes they’re

overwhelmed with fear and uncertainty

and discouragement and despair and

sometimes people come to the place of

committing suicide

we get lots of letters from people who

are about to commit suicide and listen

to the program and God speaks to their

heart changes their mind one of the

reasons I don’t read very many of those

because of the impact that it has upon

people oftentimes they will say now I

want to be sure you did say that I can

be forgiven

well you can be forgiven indeed but my

friend you short circuit your life you

lose your reward and the tragedy of

suicide you do not want to experience

the ultimate of that tragedy

and there are many people who come to

Valley experiences and when they get to

some point in the valley and they look

back and they don’t see a way out and

they look ahead and they don’t see any

way out and they don’t have the wisdom

to know if they’re a believer that Jesus

Christ is holding their hand all the way

through that Valley think about the

unbeliever who is in the valley

experiences of life and no God no

Shepherd what in this world do you do in

the deepest darkest valleys when there

is divorce when there’s separation when

there’s a loss of a child when there’s

an accident and there’s sudden death

what happens when you suddenly find

yourself in the valley and you don’t

have a Shepherd no one to hold your hand

no one to look to no one to listen to

your prayers no one to call upon no one

you can be certain about no one that you

know who genuine truly loves you enough

to have laid down his life already what

do those people do

they run to every human thing possible

trying to get something to quieten that

inner turmoil silence the silence the

shout and the alarm of their pain

something that will so fog their mind

and Cloud their thinking that they don’t

have to think where they are and what

they have to face that’s what they do

listen to what he says the Lord is my

shepherd I shall not want listen the

same Shepherd that leads us in the

valleys the same Shepherd is the one who

leads us on the mountainsides whether it

is still water in the creeks and the

streams good grass place the rest

refreshment time he’s the same one

but if you don’t have him and you don’t

know him what do you do

there’s Panic there’s turmoil there’s

Strife there’s the threat of suicide

ending it all despair disillusionment

hopelessness helplessness and all kinds

of responses not a single one of which

is the right one now

what I want to share with you at this

point is very very important

you hear me say to you oftentimes if

you’re going to come to church and

you’re going to spend 35 45 50 minutes

listening to a sermon it is foolish to

sit here and spend that much time

listening to a sermon and walk away with


to carry with you you’re not going to

come to this place and listen to 45

minutes of a message without something

that will not enrich your soul deepen

your relationship to God and challenge

you that much I know but now whether you

carried away with you or not is

something else and this is why I say if

a message is worth listening to it’s

worth writing down those areas of the

message that relate to your life are

something that relates to someone else

or something that you feel may you may

need let me give an example you know why

people panic in the valley here’s the

reason the reason people panic in the

valley and the reason they just lose it

all is because they walk into these deep

dark Valley experiences of life with no

basic biblical theology

all of their Christian experience is

hype hype praise the Lord in its own

emotion if I feel him he’s there if I

don’t feel him he’s not there and it’s

praising the Lord for this and praising

the Lord for that I’m for praising God I

believe in worshiping him and praising

him indeed I do but my friend if you’re

a Christian Life is only a matter of

emotion and you listen to sermons and

you just walk away hoping you’ll

remember something maybe

the message is going to make you feel

good they don’t challenge you they don’t

enrich your mind challenge your mind and

make you think and cause you to want to

apply those truths to yourself and you

take the time to write them down and and

to be able to apply them to your life

and look for those experiences in life

that will help you apply those

principles I can tell you when the

valley experience comes and you don’t

have a basic theology to live by you’re

going to panic you’re going to look to

the world to find something here’s what

you’re going to do more than likely

you’re going to find unwise ungodly

counsel and what that’s only going to do

is deepen your Valley and prolong your

walk in that Valley

and that’s why it’s so very important

you jot down the principles you write

down those things that have meaning that

these experiences are inevitable in

every person’s life and while we get in

the valleys and how we respond and how

we should not respond because we’re all

going to be there

and so when he says yea though I walk

through the valley of the shadow of

death I will fear no evil why because

the psalmist knew God now you see if I’m

going to respond right in The Valleys I

need to know him if I don’t know God I’m

not going to respond right if I know him

that means I understand something of his

ways how does God operate something of

his principles hear the things that

guide us in our Christian walk something

of his promises and not just know them

something as far as something being able

to quote but know them and experience

how is it the truths of God become a

part of our very being not listening to

sermons that becomes a part of my mind

the truths and the principles and the

ways of God become a part of my life

when do they become a part of my life

here’s when they become a part of my

life when God allows me or thrusts me

into the valley then I have to draw from

what I know then I have to apply what

I’ve heard then I have to test what I

believe then I have to put the blowtorch

to the very basic things that have

brought me thus far in my life and what

happens when you have a basic theology

when you have an understanding of God

when you believe his scriptures when you

know the promises when you understand

the principles then in that Valley I’m

telling you friend everything you

believe is going to get tested one way

or the other

and if your beliefs have never been

tested then more than likely you don’t

have much belief if you don’t have a

basic belief system that can stand the

test and stand the pressure and stand

the pain and stand the turmoil and stand

the criticism and stand the persecution

then my friend does something missing in

your spiritual walk

it is walking to the valley with a basic

biblical theology what I believe based

upon what the word of God teaches what

the word of God says the principles the

promises that us that fill this book

from one end to the other that’s why a

light frothy relationship to God won’t

work it may work all right as long as

everything is going your way but when

you get in the valley and the intensity

of the pain is such that you cannot

handle it and the hopelessness and the

helplessness is so absolutely

overwhelming and the days are dark and

there seems to be absolutely nothing at

the other end and you can’t go back

you’d better have a belief system

that’s tested and tried

that’s why here’s what God does that’s

the reason he gives us shallow valleys

when we know a little bit

and deeper Valas when he’s taught us

more and deeper Bell is when he’s told

us more but listen to me carefully if

you’ve had the privilege

if you’ve had the privilege of knowing

more back here

but you ignored it and knowing more here

and you weren’t interested and having

the truths that I know that you’ve had

and you’ve paid little heed to it my

friend the ballots are going to get

deeper and deeper listen to me carefully

they’re going to get deeper and deeper

no matter whether you take the time to

apply the principles or you don’t the

difference is that those who have a

Biblical theology are sustained and

those who don’t are not

and that’s why it’s so very important

that you and I understand this book and

we understand the word because no matter

what you and I face there are people in

the word of God who’ve been there and

you can start off with it’s Abraham or

Joseph or David Moses they’ve all had

those Long Valley experiences Moses 40

years on the backside of the desert in

the valley

but they understood who God was

now Moses had to learn the hard way

and that’s why God kept him 40 years

until he absolutely ripped everything

out of him that he had nothing here he

was a smelly Shepherd and then God spoke

to him again

but he had all those past failures in

his life to go back to and God remind

him that he is God and Moses you’re not

I don’t know where you may be in the

valley but I can tell you this my friend

the wisest thing you can do is to get

into this book

read it pray over it listen to the

messages of God’s servants as long as

they’re sticking with the book listen to

the messages of God’s servants write

down the truth apply them to your heart

look at how they’re being applied in

other people’s lives look at the

consequences of Disobedience those are

the things that establish you so that

when you get in the valley the Lord

Jesus Christ who holds your hand every

step of the way will keep reminding you

because you remember what he says he

says he sent the Holy Spirit in order

that he may bring to our remembrance

those things that he wants us to

remember that you and I can apply to our

heart those basic truths that anchor us

and steady us and keep us firm and solid

and stable in the most difficult trying

times of our Christian walk

well that’s the third thing that I want

you to notice here about these Valley

experiences first of all we said they’re

absolutely essential they’re going to be

a part of our life they’re inevitable

secondly they’re painful and thirdly

they are profitable Valley experiences

are profitable in our life

now that doesn’t mean that because

they’re profitable there’s not going to

be any pain yes there’ll be a pain even

even though they’re profitable the pain

and the degree of pain may be the same

but they’re profitable for a couple of

reasons first of all

there are times of Discovery for us

discovery of what we discover what God

is like in the valley in a way that we

will never discover on the mountain peak

there are things about God there are

aspects of God they’re ways of God that

you and I will discover in the deepest

darkest treacherous most painful Valley

experiences we will never even get a

glimpse of on the mountain peak

that’s just the way life is and God

reveals himself in the valley in a way

that he does not reveal himself on the

mountain peak so we’re going to get a

glimpse of God we’re going to see him in

ways that we will not see him otherwise

also as I think about what we discover

about God we discover an intimacy

and the sense of quietness he says that

he will lead us into places of rest

listen to me carefully in the deepest

darkest blackest moment of your Valley


there can be the most overwhelming

Indescribable sense of peace and rest

and quietness and confidence that only

hand in hand with the Son of God could

you ever experience

the Lord is my shepherd I shall not want

for peace and quietness and Tranquility

even when the darkest

the deepest and the most painful walk is

a part of your experience and so he says

here we’re going to discover something

notice he says he says Thou prepares the

table performing the presence of my

enemies anointing my head with oil he’s

talking here about

providing our needs in the darkest

deepest most painful part of the valley

experience and speaking of oil for

example the shepherd would take oil and

rub it on those skinned places where the

Sheep injured themselves

and he’s simply saying that he’s going

to be our comforter he’s going to be a

Healer and the healing process listen

carefully when you get in the valley

when you and I begin to respond

correctly the healing process begins

even in the most intense pain The

Healing Begins even then God doesn’t

wait to start the healing process when

we’re out on the mountain peak somewhere

that’s not the way God operates and so

he says he anoints us with oil our cup

runs over he is providing every single

thing that we need

we discover something about ourselves

not only about God and there’s a million

things about God you and I discovered

but we discover something about

ourselves now listen it’s real easy to

sit in church or sit at home everything

is going your way and say I believe in

God yes indeed I do Blessed assurance

Jesus is mine oh what a poor taste of

Glory Divine Hallelujah Amazing Grace I

believe all those songs I believe the

Bible from cover to cover well fine now

let me ask you this

when the pain hits and the hopelessness

is overwhelming then what do you believe

you see we discover things about

ourselves in the deepest darkest values

experiences we discover how much real

courage we have we discover the degree

of our faith we discover the level of

our faith we discover if our self-image

is based on him or in somebody else or

what other people think we discover the

true nature of our character we discover

whether we can really endure or not we

discover what the real

character is really all about when we go

through those things it cause us to be

absolutely helpless and we can do

nothing about and all we can do is

depend upon God we discover things about


and maybe some of those things we

oftentimes boast about when the pain

becomes intense enough all of a sudden

there is no boasting

and what we discover we discover what

our real value system in life is all

about we discover what the real

priorities in life are about and what

happens listen careful and this is so


you see here’s the reason we make such

tremendous discoveries in the deepest

darkest valleys of pain here’s the


because God has a way

of increasing the pain level to the


that it is so painful nothing else in

life matters nothing matters absolutely

nothing matters you see God knows how to

wrench from us everything we depend upon

and that’s really what he’s up to in the

valley experience ultimately this is his

purpose his ultimate purpose is to do


to rinse from us emotionally

all physically or materially every

single solitary thing so that Jesus

Christ has no competition as Lord in our

life there are no challenges to his Rule

and to his Reign and his lordship in our

life and so what does he do he just

strips us up everything that we cling to

that we lean upon and he has a very

painful way of doing that

I’m not blaming all pain on God I’m

simply saying there’s some things he

allows and some things he initiates

whether he allows them or whether he

initiates them it doesn’t make any

difference God’s ultimate goal I think

about people who are so extremely

wealthy and their whole life is wrapped

up in money that’s what they talk about

that is the subject of their

conversation they begin their

conversations that it’s the only thing

that matters in life

I tell you my friend the valley

experience will come because God is not

going to allow his children to cling to

depend upon rely upon be wrapped up in

soaked up in absolutely overwhelmed by

and allow things that become gods in

their life he said what does he do he

throws us into the valley experience to

rent from us tear from us every single

solitary thing that challenges his place

of preeminence in our life

and sometimes those are things that we

don’t we wouldn’t even think of as being

a challenge to God but you see and this

is difficult for us to understand he

wants us to lean on nothing but himself

no one but himself we are Sons and

Daughters of God walking through Valley

experiences learning to rely upon him

and him only and so what does he do he

removes every single solitary thing but


and while that is painful and difficult

for us

it ends up being

glorifying to God

because it forces us to himself and we

learn things about ourselves

we would not learn any other way and he

brings us to a sense of dependence upon

him and that’s why when we come through

that painful period and we realize that

he is it and he is only it and there is

no other it but him

then what happens even in the valley

Tranquility calmness quietness of spirit

so there

there are discoveries discoveries about

God about ourselves and discovers about

God’s purpose in our life for example

some of us know what God’s purpose in

our life is and some people do not and

it’s interesting to me how many young

men who’ve come to our fellowship

students at Georgia Tech they came to

school their parents paid their way they

they were going to be Engineers

administrators and you name it all of

these things and then something happens

in their life bottom drops out they get

thrust into the valley and what happens

it’s in the valley when God begins to

tear them loose from everything

whatever is going on in their life it

isn’t always a valley that they choose

it is not valid for example that God

necessarily institutes or initiates but

it is a valley

sometimes it’s the divorce of their

parents sometimes it is a financial

collapse in their parents they can’t pay

their way through anymore sometimes it’s

difficult in the hardship that they’re

going through whatever it may be and

then they come to say I don’t know what

God’s doing in my life and ultimately

through this deep dark treacherous

Valley you know what their conclusion is

God’s been calling me to preach and I

resisted it because I want to go out

there and make a lot of money and told

God I’d give a lot of money to the

missionaries that is the devil’s lie how

many people he’s told that one to I’ll

give a lot of money to Mission the

missionaries the mission work Lord if

you listen help me make millions of

dollars I’ll give it all to you I’m here

to tell you if all the people who’ve

ever said that made their meds and gave

it to God we’d have money running over

and trying to figure out what in the

world to do with it because that’s not

true and God doesn’t fall for that lie

at all

but how many of those young men in the

minister today on the mission feel why

because God sent them in the valley and

it was in the valley when he stripped

everything and all hope away from

everything that he got their attention

and they could say oh is that what

you’ve been calling me to do God yes yes

I do see that

and sometimes in that Valley experience

he simply affirms his purpose in your

life and what happens is that God just

enriches you and deepens you and

strengthens you and makes what you’ve

been doing even more effective but let

me say one other thing

that it is not only a time of Discovery

it is a time of preparation now

preparation isn’t easy think about this

he puts us in the valley and remember

this God never listen he never allows us

to go through the valley or never

initiates the valley experience unless

he has a purpose in mind on the other

side of that Valley God has a work has a

purpose has a plan that’s why the valley

is never a destination not in the battle

not walking around but through the

valley yea though I walk through the

valley of the shadow of death I will

fear no evil not in it but through it he

has a purpose in mind

now what is he doing in the valley he’s

preparing us for the purpose whatever it

is so what does he do he uses those

tools we don’t like

for example sometimes it is humiliation


as he says it is refinement


purifying renewing in the valley

experienced all the pain and all the

hurt we feel have an overwhelming

awesome glorifying Divine Purpose behind

it all

that’s why I’m going to come to the last

point in just a moment that’s why the

next point is so very absolutely

essential because whatever his purpose

is and whatever he is allowing to go on

what makes my Valley experience

profitable or a great time of painful

loss is how respond now listen

there are two ways to respond negatively

we either get thrust in the valley or we

get in there because of our own

circumstances we’re in the valley how do

I respond rebel against God God why did

you allow this in my life

look for a way out try to find some

little offshoot of the path up some

Creek in some little slight better

thinking there may be a way out of the


so we Rebel

we want to run away

we want to blame somebody else for being

in the valley

blaming others is always a sign of our

spiritual immaturity it doesn’t make any

of us what happens how we get there

ultimately God allows us to be in the

valley and so we complain we have pity

parties we moan and we groan and we and

we blame God we blame other people and

my friend as long as you’re doing that

here’s what’s happening you know what

it’s like it’s like God just stops

within the valley he’s still got you by

the hand but he just stops or he slows

down the pace you know why

because he’s refining and purifying and

cleansing and building character and

changing and altering and doing what

preparing us for what he has in mind

what’s the proper response

I said it once before on purpose and I

want to say it at the end of this


here’s the proper response it doesn’t

make a difference what the nature of the

valley is it doesn’t make a difference

how short or how long it is it doesn’t

make a difference how painful and

treacherous it is it doesn’t make any

difference how dark and hopeless and

helpless it may be

he is always the right response


what is your goal for my life in this


secondly father how do you want me to

respond in this experience father all

that I am I lay down before you

With No Reservations no restrictions

I am solely your property

and fourthly father all that I have is

yours I open my hands you can take any

in all of it it is all yours

and my friend

when you and I get in the valley

and that is our response

almighty God in all of his Sovereign

wisdom and love will guide us every step

of the way through that Valley and


the pain may be almost unbearable

but the glory on the other side

will make that pain


now you say well

and I saw this happen a week or so ago

sometimes people are going through pain

and they think when somebody describes

it what do they know about it

but my friend

none of us know how anyone else hurts

that’s not even the issue the issue is

what is the proper response

what is your goal

how would you have me respond

here am I and here is all that I have

God will honor that every single time

and father we love you for this

wonderful past of scripture

so simple

but so descriptive so comforting and so


and I ask you father with all of my

heart for all the hurting people who are

going to hear this message

I pray the spirit of God

would write

etch indelibly upon their heart

that when you said

you would be with us

you meant it every step of the way and

that you will work good out of all of

our pain all of our hurt all of our

suffering that you will accomplish your


your way and your will and so father we

just want to rest in that today and

thank you that you’re the all-sufficient



for every experience we face in life

and we thank you for it in Jesus name