Share This Episode
In Touch Charles Stanley Logo

The Believer's Valley Experiences - Part 1

In Touch / Charles Stanley
The Truth Network Radio
May 2, 2023 12:00 am

The Believer's Valley Experiences - Part 1

In Touch / Charles Stanley

On-Demand Podcasts NEW!

This broadcaster has 619 podcast archives available on-demand.

Broadcaster's Links

Keep up-to-date with this broadcaster on social media and their website.

May 2, 2023 12:00 am

Have you ever noticed how the Bible uses valleys to symbolize times of difficulty, trial, suffering, and pain? Perhaps you’re stumbling through your own valleys right now.

In Touch
Charles Stanley

Valley experiences are absolutely inevitable in the down inside. Our text for this message is probably the most familiar 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 twenty-third Psalm and I want us to read this Psalm and there's one particular phrase and facet in here that I want us to deal with.

And the title of this message is, The Believer's Valley Experiences, 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 preparest the table before me in the presence of mine enemies.

Thou hast 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. 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 staff, they comfort me. Oftentimes in the Bible, valleys are indications or symbols of times of difficulty, hardship, trial, suffering and pain. And I want us to look at this passage in the light of that title, and that is the believers 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. 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 to lie down in green pastures, leads me beside quiet waters, restores my soul, guides me in the paths of righteousness.

And then notice verse four how he says it. He says, even though I walk 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 no evil. 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 valley experiences. 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 valley experiences. Now, if you're wise this morning, you get your pencil and piece of paper out and you won't miss a lot of this because there is no such thing as walking on a mountain peak without hitting the valley. There are valleys in our life and there are valleys 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 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 His 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 the valley experience is because of the actions of some of the people, of someone else. 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 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. 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 can lead us around that way.

That's no problem with him. He knows there's a 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. Sometime it is a deep, dark, treacherous valley. 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.

Valley experiences are absolutely inevitable in the life of every single person. Notice something else he doesn't say. He doesn't say, 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 like to put on a blindfold and just run through it right quick and not hear anything and see anything and feel anything. Just get through that God. 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. 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 and head being anoint with oil and cup running over. Suppose he left out this part, 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 comfort 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 two questions to ask.

Number one, Father, what is your goal? And secondly, 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.

Makes no difference 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 valley experiences are painful times in our life. Painful times in our life. Look at the words in this verse. He says, the shadow of death, fear, evil, all of these indicate something is 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 evil. And so when He speaks about valleys, 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, threatenings, 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 pains or 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 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 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 and it's all over. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death. And the reason He put that word in there is because He wanted to emphasize the intensity of the pain 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 valley. Sometimes the valley is short. Sometimes it's long. For example, here's a person who goes to the doctor and the doctor says, you have a terminal illness. And two weeks later, a month later, they find 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 have no prospects for a couple of weeks or three weeks and it looks like it's going to be a long, drawn-out process. And out of the blue, somebody calls them and says, I'm looking for somebody that has your qualifications. They're out of the valley. And it 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. 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 valley 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 for you and I understand, be sure 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. Their valleys are similar, but no two people's valleys 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 valleys that are very long, very painful, very dark, very treacherous, little hope. There are some valleys 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 valley. But there's a second thing about the valley, not on the length of time, but the second thing is the difference in the depth of that valley. Some valleys are very, very deep.

Listen to what He says. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, some valleys are very deep and very dark. 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 death, that indicates that there are some valleys that are very, very threatening to us.

That set off alarms in us. Those valleys 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.

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 valleys that we've been through, difficult trying times, painful times in our life. And as I thought about this message, things in the past of my life that I thought were dark valleys and deep times 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 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 simpler there ought to be. And so, you know, it ought to be some time out there where they don't get quite as difficult. And then I stepped in the valley. 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 describe. 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? And yet I know that He's an omniscient Shepherd, all wise.

And He always does the right thing. 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'll bring honor and glory to His name. And so one thing I know for sure about the valley, that because He said, Thou art with me, this much I know, that there is always a limitation on the depth of that valley. Thanks for joining us on In Touch, the teaching ministry of Dr. Charles Stanley. God is always with every believer, whether we're standing on the peak of a mountain or in the depths of the valley.

And though He may allow us to suffer at times, always remember that He's using these things to refine us and mold us into His image. Dr. Stanley's message on the believers' valley experiences wraps up next time. We'd like to help you discover more about our trustworthy God. Browse our website,, for devotions, Bible-based study tools, and relevant articles. And if you'd like to have a copy of Dr. Stanley's complete message, you can order online. The title is The Believers' Valley Experiences. Again, log on to or call 1-800-IN-TOUCH.

To write to us, address your letter to In Touch, Post Office Box 7900, Atlanta, Georgia, 30357. God intends for us to share the blessings He sends our way. Today's moment with Charles Stanley is coming up. The Christian life is an exciting journey with great joys and challenges. We don't always know the right questions to ask or the best way to approach Scripture in search of answers. Dr. Stanley's Handbook for Christian Living is an easy-to-use help system that will bring Scripture to life so you can see God moving powerfully in your life.

To order, call 1-800-IN-TOUCH or go to slash store. In Lebanon, families that had fled civil war, leaving homes made of burlap, cardboard, and tin. But Ammar and his sisters are seeing Christ through the love of missionaries. Now he has a school, and his parents can hear God's Word through the In Touch Messenger, an audio Bible that is discipling new believers in Lebanon.

Learn more at slash messenger. God blesses His followers, so we have something to give to others. Here's a moment with Charles Stanley. Has it ever occurred to you that one of the primary reasons God has blessed you is because He wants you to share it with someone else? It's very interesting what Paul said in this 2 Corinthians letter. Listen to what he says, Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we'll be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

Think about this. No matter how good you are, how successful you've been, you would not be where you are, would it not be for God's blessings and also for the people God has used in your life to bless you. It's interesting what Paul also said in Ephesians chapter 2. He was talking about salvation, and then he said in this 10th verse. He says, For we are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus for the purpose of good works which God foreordained that you and I should walk in them.

It should be our lifestyle. And what are our good works? Giving to other people, serving the Lord in different ways.

So ask yourself the question, what is it that you have to give? How has God blessed you in such a fashion that now He wants you to bless others? Has it ever occurred to you that you have the responsibility of sharing your faith with someone else? Think about the people in the world who have never heard the gospel. You have the truth of the gospel in your heart.

Did He not say, and have we not quoted this often, Give and it shall be given to you, good measure, pressed down, shaken together. You need to count your blessings and ask yourself the question, how has God blessed me? How can I give this away to others? And remember this, be a blessing to someone.

And in the process, you'll be doubly and triply blessed. To learn more about the believer's responsibility of investing in the lives of others, visit us at If you'd like to hear today's message again, you can find it in the radio section of our website, plus an entire library of messages in our audio archives. You can also download a podcast of our program to your MP3 player and take it along with you. Our web address again is

Since tough times are unavoidable, it makes sense to have a plan for facing them. In part two of today's message, we'll hear how we can respond well to life's family experiences. I hope you'll join us next time for In Touch, the teaching ministry of Dr. Charles Stanley. This program is a presentation of In Touch Ministries, Atlanta, Georgia, and remains on this station through the grace of God and your faithful prayers and gifts.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-02 03:38:23 / 2023-05-02 03:48:07 / 10

Get The Truth Mobile App and Listen to your Favorite Station Anytime