Many may be walking through the Valley of the shadow of death right now. Many may be sensing death all around them, you may even smell death but the Lord wants to encourage you that you are walking “through”. Death is not the end result for you. When Jesus said after receiving news of Lazarus’ illness in John 4:4 that Lazurus’ sickness “was not unto death but unto the Glory of God”, He didn’t say that Lazurus wasn’t going to die, He was saying that it wasn’t going to END THERE!
Valley’s are seasons we pass through, but they are not our end result. They are seasons of great forging and fortifying, testing and proving. They can be seasons of heartache and pain, frustration and waiting. But they are seasons where the Lord’s rod and staff comfort us. His rod of protection and His guiding staff bring comfort to us in these times.
AS HE HAS CREATED THE MOUNTAINS SO HE CREATED THE VALLEYS
There are depths in the Lord that are uncovered and found in times and seasons of great struggles of the heart, that will never be found when everything is going your way.
There are realms of faith and trust that can never be forged in places of comfortable circumstances and mountain top experiences. For as He created the mountains so He has created the valleys”.
DON’T FIGHT THE VALLEY’S – BEAUTY IS FOUND IN THE VALLEY
Don’t fight the valleys, for though you walk through the valley of the shadow of death, you shall fear no evil, my staff and my rod and my staff will comfort you. (Psalm 23:4)
Don’t fight the Valleys- there is beauty to be found in the valley.
For this is where the Lily blooms.
Lily’s are sweet and fragrant with a strong scent, beautiful pure and white exceeding all other flowers for whiteness.
A lily is fruitful with one root able to put forth fifty bulbs. One of the tallest flowers that bows it’s head low.
So we see here if the lily is a picture of what certain beauty blooms in the valley, we can be assured that beauty, fragrance, purity, humility and much fruit can come forth from our valley times.
Notice in Psalm 23 that the very next verse after the valley the Lord talks about setting the table before you in the presence of your enemies.
THE TABLE IN THE PRESENCE OF YOUR ENEMIES
Psalm 23:5 says “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over.”
Enemies are fought in the valley’s and there are many opposing forces.
The winds of opposition carry voices. Voices that scream and are violent in their pursuit of you.
BUT GOD, He sets the table in the presence of Your enemies. He is the one who sets it. He decides the menu, He sends an invitation to wine and dine with Him in the midst of opposition. In the contrary place, He says let’s take a seat and have a meal, come into my presence where there is fullness of joy.
A KINGDOM THAT CAN’T BE SHAKEN IS FORGED AT THE TABLE.
For in this place is forged the unshakeable kingdom inside of you. It’s in this place where you can behold the power of the table. The power of communion, the power of the wine, and the bread. The power of His blood and His body. The power of His presence and His word. The power of this intimate place, this place of being hidden in Him, under the shadow of the almighty where no foe can withstand.
When He sets a table and says let’s dine, you know you are truly experiencing the kingdom of heaven. Where the elements of this earth cannot touch, harm or mame you. Where no matter what is going on, you can have access to joy and peace. This is the table.
In seasons where you find yourself in the midst of the enemy and he’s screaming at you, the Lord has a table set for you to wine and dine with Him.
To have joy at the table, to have peace at the table. And the key is IN the PRESENCE OF YOUR ENEMIES!
There are times and seasons we bind, rebuke, cast down and the enemy flees, and that is warfare. But another level of warfare is found AT THE TABLE.
That is higher warfare to sit with him in the midst of opposition where He has not rebuked the enemy but said let’s dine instead.
And we say “but Lord! can’t you see the enemy at the gate? Can’t you see He’s sending tormenting arrows and He’s mocking me and hissing at me?”!!!!
And the Lord answers “Yes I can see that, but come and dine”!
“But why aren’t you just blitzing the enemy??”, we say.
And He replies, “because there is a place you find in Me in the midst of your darkest hour if you just choose to dine, that you can never access in times of peace.
Drink of my presence and eat of my word, and you will flow in the fruit of the struggle and it will be something that cannot be shaken and cannot be moved because it has been forged in the fire”.
No kingdom of this earth will be able to shake it because God is shaking that which can be shaken so that the kingdom of God is what remains. For is he not an all consuming fire? (Hebrews 12:28-29)
The Lord has often said to me many times,
“if you can endure My fire than the fire of the enemy is a piece of cake”.
Malachi 3:2 “Who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire and fullers soap”.
IF NEED BE
1Peter 1:6 says in the NKJ version, ” if need be, we suffer temptations and trials”. We all “need be” at times, but it’s for the purpose of the testing the “genuiness” of our faith which is more precious than gold.
Will we only say Yes when it goes our way? Will we only say yes if God does what we want Him to when we want Him to do it? Will we continue doing what God has asked even though it doesn’t feel all cushy and cosy?
How genuine is our faith? How pure and real is it?
The fire of trials tests and proves what is real faith, and if we will let it, purifies the pollution of unbelief out of our heart.
The fire of trials and testing’s, of opposing circumstances, proves our YES! It tests it, and if it is weak and shaky in areas because of fears, or hardness of heart, it will act as a forging instrument to reinforce those areas into an unshakeable fortress.
FLOURISHING IN ALL CIRCUMSTANCES
It’s not in the sense God is inflicting us, but rather through trials we have the opportunity to discover our son ship to a greater measure and realise the untapped power of the Godhead that dwells within us. We become like a tree planted by the river that will bloom in and out of season.
“Most blessed is the man who believes in, trusts in, and relies on the Lord, and whose Hope and confidence the Lord is. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters that spreads out its roots by the river; and it shall not see and fear when the heat comes; but its leaf shall be green. It shall not be anxious and full of care in the year of drought, nor shall it cease yielding fruit.”
It is possible to not only survive but FLOURISH in unfavourable circumstances. Would you call drought a favourable place? How??
THE POWER IS IN THE YIELD
Jeramiah 17:7 says the answer is in trust. It’s in the yield.
The Lord is saying the answer is in the surrender, yield to the process.
Maybe where we are trying to fight off demons and trying to change circumstances and people and everything out of our control, maybe He is saying yield to the Fire, let me burn away those things that hinder the (joy peace and righteous), let me burn away the fears, don’t try and “overcome” them in your own strength, but rather the answer is in the yield, don’t fight the process, and rest in trust.
JOY AND PEACE IN AN UNFAVOURABLE PLACE
I have fought so many seasons trying to “faith” the circumstances to change to bring me peace, but one day I heard the Lord say to me “Anita this season isn’t about you using your faith to change the circumstance but rather being able to “find” joy and peace in an unfavourable place”.
There is something in you that only can be forged in that place.
The power is in the yield. Not yielding to the voice of the torment that screams at you but rather yielding to the process of refining and fire, to uproot the enemy out of your land. Not having expectation on “how” and “when” God will deliver you but rather simply “hoping” in God! That is the hope that doesn’t disappoint. That is the yield. To Hope in God and His way. Not Hope in the timing and Him to hurry up and deliver you!
But rather sit, at the table, and dine on His word and drink of His presence, because the food at His table in times of war, is so much richer than in times of peace.
It takes an act of faith to celebrate Him in times of war.
THE TABLE REPRESENTS CELEBRATION, VICTORY AND TRIUMPH
In ancient days battle victories were celebrated through wine and food. There would be great feasting and rejoicing from battles won.
The table set in the presence of the enemies is also a representation of celebration and victory. It is a celebration in the midst of the enemy that the Lord is our victor and our reward.
1 Peter 1:6 says You should be exceedingly glad on this account, though now for a little while you may be distressed by trials and suffer temptations, So that the genuinesses of your faith may be tested, which is infinitely more precious than the perishable gold which is tested and purified by fire.
“rejoice” in your trials and tribulations? Are you kidding me???
Here is another one!!!
“Consider it wholly joyful, my brethren, whenever you are enveloped in or encounter trials of any sort or fall into various temptations. Be assured and understand that the trial and proving of your faith bring out endurance and steadfastness and patience. But let endurance and steadfastness and patience have full play and do a thorough work, so that you may be people perfectly and full developed with no defects, lacking in nothing.
In other words:
LET THE SEASON COMPLETLE WHAT IT NEEDS TO IN YOU!
What is it in this season that the Lord wants to perfect or complete in you? When you abort the season, or the process, you abort the fruit of the valley. You never see that beautiful lily blooming forth in purity and fragrance, in humility bearing much fruit.
If we try to give birth prematurely or force the next season by our own strength, there will be defects and it will be lacking. It may be lacking in the capacity needed for the next season or level God wants to take you to.
Sometimes our valley seasons are where the Lord is actually expanding our capacity. Causing us to grow, mature, be able to handle the increase He is about to cause you to steward for His Glory and purposes.
All of us are different. You might look around and say oh God is harder on me than on others. What they went through is nothing compared to me. Well you aren’t there in their closet with God almost sweating blood in the wrestling’s of the soul. Just because they don’t go around winging and broadcasting it everywhere doesn’t mean the Lord hasn’t been surely refining them in the fire. The Lord will take you to your limit. To stretch you beyond it. Just like a PT would do in a training session.
GROWTH IS FOUND IN THE RESISTANCE
In this season of the valley and the table, we become strong. We are being conditioned for greatness.
In order for our physical bodies to become strong and fit and it needs to be trained and conditioned through resistance and endurance. For strength to increase so must the resistance.
In times of resistance we grow stronger as we push back and not retreat.
After doing all stand. Sometimes all the strength we have is to stand and not run away, not quit, not throw the towel in. Just stand.
In these times, sometimes we fall in a heap and cry just like we would if we had some commando personal fitness trainer who pushed us beyond our limits in a physical workout. But growth is found in the resistance. Limits are pushed and mental barriers are broadened. Tent pegs are expanded and curtains are stretched out. ( Isaiah 54:1)
CONDITIONED FOR GREATNESS
Those unfavourable places are conditioning us, like David. He met opposition that conditioned Him for His purpose. He met first the lion and the bear. Then He faced Goliath. Goliath was a piece of cake for Him. He wasn’t even scared.
If David had been afraid, victory would never have been achieved that day. Why wasn’t David afraid? David as a shepherd lived in the valley. Why do you think He could write Psalm 23 like that? Because He lived it!! He knew what He was talking about!
THE VALLEY IS NOT FOREVER
David didn’t stay in the valley. As He wrote in Psalm 23 “though we walk THROUGH the valley, of the shadow of death.” We walk through it, we don’t camp there like we do beside the still waters. The valley is not our home but a place where we have an opportunity that no other time presents to overcome through wining and dining with the Lord.
TREES OF RIGHTEOUSNESS NOT POT PLANT CHRISTIANS
1peter 5:9-10 “ And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace [who imparts blessing and favour], who has called you to His own eternal glory in Christ Jesus, will Himself complete and make you what you ought to be, establish and ground you securely, and strengthen, and settle you.”
So trials are only a little while, and the outcome for those who don’t abort the process are brought forth like a beautiful butterfly in all they “ought to be”. Strengthened, established and secure. Ones that are “planted” by the waters. Not in pot plants ready to get up at any time. The Lord wants trees of righteousness not pot plant Christians that have shallow soil and the moment hardship or trials come they pull the pin. (Luke 8)
Mature sons are forged in the fire and know that when they are in the midst of the enemy they have a table to feast at in His presence. The enemy is not invited into the presence. He cannot access that place. For fullness of joy is found in His presence and that Joy is a fortified place of protection. It is your strength.
I’ve had seasons where I have stood aloof from the invitation to sit at the table and have resisted the process, trying desperately to change the circumstances in my own strength, or just simply winging about them!!! But that was because of lack of understanding of the process.
Then I have had other seasons where I have completely accepted His invitation to dine and yielded to the process and find Joy in an unfavourable place. Let me tell you, peace is never found in standing aloof. And the circumstances don’t change anyway. I now know I would rather have peace and joy amidst my enemies rather than fear, strife and turmoil.
Accept His invitation sit at the table and eat what He has on the menu for you in this season and bloom in unfavourable places.
God is working for your good and causing you to be what you ought to be!!!