Walking In The Valley

January 23, 2018
by Don Lipsett

Psalm 23:4a – Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me. (NIV)

Psalm 139:7 – Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? (NIV)

My story has a "happy ending"; not all do. There are no easy or trite answers in the dark, obscure valleys which comprise parts of our lives. Although it took years before I saw this time in my life through eyes of faith, I do now believe and know that Jesus was close then, so close.

At age 21, I was enduring my third year of university. The heavy course load was exhausting, but worse yet were the merciless expectations that I put on myself, especially the one which equated honour and success with personal worthiness and acceptance by family. I found no relief in my non-academic activities, and the liberal theology in church did not speak to me of a Saviour who loved and understood me, but rather bolstered my belief that to please God, as well as family, it was all up to me: the validation of my existence depended on my purity and success.

Throughout third year, I drifted repeatedly into and (then, only briefly) out of depression. Several times, I considered that the best solution to the hopelessness that I felt might lie with my brother's .22 rifle. In April, after exams, it all came to a head. While I was alone one day, I took the rifle out, loaded and cocked it, and turned it around, putting the end of the barrel to my heart. Then I picked up the ruler that I had, with which to push the trigger. It was at that moment that God brought into my mind a thought which, in my depression, I had completely blocked from consciousness: one week later would be my cousin's wedding! I couldn't do this to him and his fiancée! I carefully turned the gun away and unloaded it. So began a series of events which, over the summer, gradually lessened the depression's hold upon me. I now know, although at the time I still didn't realize, that I had God to thank.

As I read Psalm 139 recently, verse 7 leaped from the page: "Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?" — Thank You, Lord — Nowhere! — not even at the end of the barrel of a gun!

Life will bring us — you and me — through more valleys where, in the darkness, God's presence and His leading may be obscured to us. In these times, through Jesus Christ who walked this way before us, let us trust that "You are with me."

Prayer: Jesus, thank You for walking with us through the valleys of shadows in life. Help us, Holy Spirit, to hold onto this truth. Amen.

About the author:

Don Lipsett <dllipsett@shaw.ca>
100 Mile House, British Columbia, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    A touching story, Don.


    Thank you for sharing this and showing God is with us at all times. May you be blessed.


    Thank you for this encouraging message, so important as we continue to meet the dark shadows through our lives.


    Thanks for this word of testimony Don, l appreciated it.
    Blessings.


    Dear Don
    Thank you for sharing your remarkable moment in life. Praise the Lord!


    Thanks for sharing your personal story, all for the Glory of God!
    AMEN,
    (CA)


    Thanks for sharing this great devotional! We all go through a dark time at some time in our life, but it’s so wonderful to be able to just trust the Lord with all and He will bring joy again.


    Praise God! He always delivers us from evil, even if we don’t ask for deliverance. Thank you for sharing this incredibly difficult experience with us as well as the lesson learned. Blessings.


    Thanks for sharing your personal story, all for the Glory of God!
    AMEN,
    (CA)


    Thank you for sharing your journey with depression, and how God showed his sufficient grace. Psalm 139 has been a favorite of mine for many years. Verses 13-14 have also been meaningful for me. Keep letting the Word be a lamp to your feet and a light for your path.


    I am glad that God was loud enough to stop you from carrying out what you intended to do. Like you said, yours was a happy ending, there are many who lose their lives because they are unable to see hope for their future.
    May we who have been entrusted with God’s message of hope reach out to the world that feels hopeless.


    Don, thank you for sharing your experience. I pray the Lord will use your testimony to help others who are also going through a dark valley.
    Keep writing!
    Blessings.


    Good Morning – and thank you for sharing your devotion regarding depression – may it be a light to others who feel overwhelmed with their lives, and may they have the courage of God, as you did, to overcome the temptation to end their time on earth.
    Blessings.


    Don,
    Thank you for your powerful message. Like most of us I too have been in and out of the valley to varying degrees throughout my 74 years and yet it puzzles me why I am still amazed each time God leads me back to where life is once again beautiful and full of joy. He is faithful indeed!
    (Ontario)


    Good Morning, Don,
    If there were only one Psalm in the world for me to read it would be Psalm 139. I read it in “The Message” version of the Bible and admit that I missed the “old” words. Certainly am glad it spoke to you those years ago and thanks for your devotional.
    (Texas)


    Our God is an awesome God, Don.
    He did the same for me many years ago. I thank Him often for His intervention. So many blessings would have been missed.
    Thank you for sharing. Thank you, God, for sparing Don so he could help others with his testimony.
    Blessings
    (ON.)


    Good morning Don,
    Thank you for the devotional you submitted for this morning & for sharing about the dark days you battled in earlier days. The Lord truly had plans for your future & knew that by changing your mind at the precise time you would be a blessing to so many people in your future years. And that you have been, & continue to be in your service to our Lord & Saviour.
    Blessings upon you & appreciation for your dedication.
    (B.C.)


    Isn’t God wonderful. I just heard a message on this Psalm – Verse by verse – over the internet from a local church. I no longer felt in the church I have gone to for many years. I don’t want to be entertained but wanted to be fed. Since I have found them, I have learned more about the bible than I have in years. When I was younger I was so depressed and wanted to end it but what prevented me was I was now in hell once in a while and then I would be forever. “I never felt any good” Thanks for this message. An old Christian waiting to “graduate” and join my husband, who has been gone for 14 years. So lonely. Kids all around in my area but still lonely.


    Dear Don Lipsett,
    Thank you for sharing your story with us through this devotional today. Thankfully you heard HIS voice and are with us today to share it, and thankfully the subject of depression…..no matter how long or short endured, or to what degree, is now out in the open and not as ridiculed or closeted as in the past.
    Psalm 139 has been one of my favorites since I learned years ago that Charles Lindbergh’s grave has Psalm 139:9 inscribed on it, as my dad was a private pilot.
    I’m sure there are some who read your devotional today for whom it made a huge difference and may have even saved a life.
    God Bless.


    The world is a better place with you in it!


    It is my testimony also. He brings us through the water, fire, flood and all our battles with whatever it is we struggle. He is with us. Blessed is the one who turns to Him.


    Hi Don!
    Thank you so much for that powerful testimony of how God is with us ALWAYS!
    Blessings.


    Your story is a sobering example of our prevailing works-centered philosophy/theology of life – as opposed to grace-centered living. Yet, we often hear that theology doesn’t matter. Actually, it’s a matter of life and death!


    Hi Don,
    Thank you for your devotional about your early years and the struggles you had.
    Glad to see that through faith all went well
    Blessings.


    Hi Isabel,
    Thank you for your devotional.
    Blessings.

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