Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand…For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you.” (Isaiah 41:10,13)

Read these precious and powerful words again.  Notice the frequency of the words “I” and “My” which are used in reference to God.  We do not have to experience despair and defeat in our valley of the shadow of death seasons.  The omnipotent (all powerful) God is with us.  He is our God who loves us beyond all measure.  He will strengthen us and help us through these times of difficulty and pain.  In fact, He will uphold us with His righteous right hand and He will grasp our right hands and whisper or at times scream to us — “Fear not; do you not know that I will help you?”

What incredible peace this gives me.  I look back on my valley of the shadow death experiences and now I see the hand of God in them.  To be honest, I did not see this at all when I was going through them.  Perhaps my greatest seasons of pain came when Anne suffered and died with Leukemia and when I went through that horrible year of major depression.  Now, I see clearly that God was my Helper, Deliverer, and Comforter.  You see, when we face these seasons, God will help us.  His rod of discipline and His staff of guidance and protection will give us comfort!

The God of all comfort will Himself comfort us in all our affliction.   And think of it, He uses these valley of the shadow of death experiences to enable us to comfort others who are in the midst of them.

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 afflictions, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in affliction, with the comfort which which we ourselves are comforted by God.  For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comforts too. (II Corinthians 1:3-5)

I can’t begin to tell you how many opportunities God has given me to minister to those who have lost loved ones and to those who are experiencing depression.  I have been there.  I went through these times.  I hurt and was fearful.  But God was there to help me and to uphold me.  Now I can help other because I have been through these things.

When we come out of these valley experiences, it is amazing what we can receive from God.  Let’s turn to David again:

O Lord, you have brought up my soul from Sheol; you restored me to life from among those who go down to the pit.  Sing praises to the Lord, O you His saints, and give thanks to His holy name.  For His anger is but for a moment, and HIs favor is for a lifetime.  Weeping my tarry for the night, but joy comes in the morning…You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent.  O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever.  (Psalm 30:3-5,11-12)

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