Life is full of valleys and prayers; let God comfort you

KEN ANSELL

I know people think my life is perfect (just kidding), but I’m suffering in a valley and I’ve been there for a while and it’s not much fun.  I’ve got decisions to make, and I don’t have much clarity.  It seems like the older I get, I’m less and less decisive.  That’s no fun either (both getting old and being indecisive).

I know a lot of people experiencing the valley right now.  One friend that I’ve known since I was 8 years old told me that the last 2 years have been a “mental health challenge.”  He just went through a divorce, sold his house, blah, blah, blah. 

Ken Ansell

Another friend of 21 years told me about being in a “bad place.”  Drastic changes were needed for him to get healthy before bad became really bad.   

I have yet another friend that has been down because of some health challenges, and one night he felt so desperate he called the suicide hotline (if you are struggling please reach out for some help - people care about you).  My friend survived the valley of depression and is doing much better today, for which I am thankful.

What I’m saying is, these are grown men who are typically strong.  These are tough guys that I respect.  These are the kind of men that eat nails for breakfast without any milk.  My point is, we all struggle.  It doesn’t matter if you love Jesus or not, life is hard, it’s full of valleys.  Sickness, death and heartache are part of the natural landscape.  

While the challenges mentioned above are not my challenges, my valley still matters because it’s my valley.  You know the difference between major and minor surgery?  Minor surgery is performed on you, major surgery is performed on me.  So while my valley is not depression or anxiety, it’s still important.  

I pray a lot (it’s what I do, I’m a pastor), and the heaven’s feel like iron on this matter that has got me down.  I see God but it’s more like, Where’s Waldo.  I see Him, and then He disappears.  I know God is not hiding because God does not play hide and seek, but He rather He plays seek and find.  Jesus told me to seek and I would find Him  (Matthew 7:7), but still I grow weary of playing Where’s God.  

I started this column early last week, and since then I’ve had what I call “breakthrough.”  I’ve heard God speak, He’s told me what to do, and now I’ve got to exercise some faith, get on the spiritual treadmill and go for a spiritual run.

Jesus told us to pray with persistence in (Luke 11:9-10).  If we do this, He said He would respond.  So if you’re in the valley waiting on God to show up, hang in there.  God is for you (Romans 8:31).  2 Thessalonians  3:3, reminds us the Lord is faithful, we can trust Him even in the low places.   

I’ve preached at too many funerals lately, and I’ve used Psalm 23 as my text.  In verse 4, King David says, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, (How can David write this?  Because of what he wrote next) FOR YOU ARE WITH ME;”  

My point is, God is there with you in your hard season, you do not need to fear (verse 4), let God comfort you (verse 4), sit at His table (verse 5), let Him bless you in front of your enemies (verse 5), let your cup overflow (verse 5), let His goodness and His mercy flow into your life and know that in the end you will dwell with Him forever (verse 6).  How does this happen?  It doesn’t happen if you quit and give up.  It happens as you apply your faith and live out Romans 8:31.  Go get’em!  He told me to tell you that.