Have you ever faced a valley so deep you wondered how you would possibly climb out of the darkness?

Maybe the death of a precious loved one left you reeling with pain.  Perhaps your marriage fell apart, your dream died, or you faced a devastating diagnosis.  If you’re anything like me, you wanted to put your hope in Jesus, but mostly, you put your hope in climbing out of the grief.

There’s nothing wrong with hoping for our circumstances to improve, but God is inviting us to embrace his peace while we’re in the middle of our pain as well.

A few years ago, our family endured a heartbreaking loss.  My knee-jerk reaction was to sprint through the valley of despair and emerge from our grief-stricken season as quickly as possible.  I wanted to close the painful chapter and be done with the pain.


How to Put Your Hope in Jesus

As I hurriedly aimed to push myself through the pain, the Lord offered me a different invitation.  I realized he was asking me to stop putting my hope in getting to the other side of our painful situation.  Instead, he was inviting me to claim his hope by resting in the arms of the Shepherd.  He reminded me of his promise to walk with me through every valley in life.  I didn’t have to wait to climb out of the valley to claim hope—Living Hope walked with me through the valley.

I remind myself of these lessons as I walk beneath the dusky sky.

My hope is not found in an improved situation.  My hope is in Jesus.

We live in a broken world, and we will all experience pain.  The next time your heart is broken, your soul is grieving, or your body is paralyzed with physical pain, remember this: The Shepherd has not left you to navigate this valley on your own.  He is beside you, and he will carry you when you are too weak to walk.  He is your Comforter, your Constant Companion, and your Living Hope. Cling to this reminder from Psalm 23:4: “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.”He has promised never to leave you, and he assures you that nothing can ever take his love away from you.  Claim these promises as you let him fill you with his hope in the middle of your most painful valleys.


Your Invitation to Put Your Hope in Jesus

Jesus wants to be your Living Hope.  I encourage you to take a few minutes to read and meditate on Psalm 23 today.  As you read, ask the Lord to show you a specific word or phrase to meditate on.  Slowly read the Psalm, watching for a word or phrase to jump off the page.  After reading, spend a moment reflecting on the words that caught your attention.  Ask God to help you apply these words to your life, and journal about anything he reveals to you.  Here is this powerful Psalm:


The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul.

He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.

Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. (NIV)


Consider . . .

Where have you been placing your hope?  Have you been tempted to find hope by imagining how life will improve when your pain finally subsides?

What does the Lord want to teach you about his sufficiency as you make him your source of hope in the middle of your pain?