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Christian living, Life's Challenges

Alone in the Valley: Combatting Abandonment

"The valley of the shadow of death" ...

“The valley of the shadow of death” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sometimes we cry but it seems there’s no one there to listen.

Our pleas for help go unheard, our prayers unanswered. The shadows grow darker and the pain digs deeper. We seek help, comfort, any warm body to at least stand nearby, but we are alone, stranded in our sorrow, our hurt, our turmoil. No one cares, no one comforts, and even if they did, it wouldn’t matter.

We’re drowning.

As Jesus did on the cross, towards the end of those six grueling hours, when the sun hid its face and the Father lifted his hand, we cry the words of David:

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from saving me,
so far from my cries of anguish?
My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer,
by night, but I find no rest. (Psalm 22: 1-2, NIV)

Ever been there? I sure have. It’s not a pretty place to be and certainly not a place any of us want to spend too much time. That valley is patchworked with thorny underbrush, rocky terrain, sinister caves, and some of the darkest shadows you’ve ever seen.

But if you’re reading Psalm 22 and taking in David’s lonesome words please don’t stop there. It isn’t the end of the story. The beginning of verse 3 is the best part, the redemption, the flood light that flips on and casts away every shadow and every creature that loves darkness and lurks in those shadows.

Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One.

Here are three things to keep in mind when battling loneliness, abandonment, depression, fatigue:

  1. The Valley of the Shadow of Death? Remember, they’re only shadows. They can’t hurt you. Not really. They are powerless and so easily banished by the Light.
  2. Loneliness and abadonment are just feelings. They’re powerful feelings, believe me, I’ve experienced it all, but they carry no truth, no substance. You’re never alone. And you can take that to the bank.
  3. No matter how bad things get, how painful, how seemingly hopeless, God is still on the throne. He sees all, hears all, loves you more than you can even understand, and knows what He’s doing.

Question: How do you remind yourself that God is present and near when everything around you and every emotion within you tries to tell you otherwise?

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About michaelkingbooks

I write stories of faith and family, love and loss, heartache and triumph. Here I blog about faith, relationships, and genuine living.

Discussion

4 thoughts on “Alone in the Valley: Combatting Abandonment

  1. Been to the valley…got the T-shirt. I just kept reading the promises in God’s Word and reminding myself that He had never abandoned me before and had guided me every step of the way for 35 years. The phrase from Job…”though He slay me, yet shall I trust Him” came to mind many times during one particularly miserable hospital stay. It’s hard to get perspective when you are in the midst of the situation, but sometimes you just need to trust and hold on to His promises.

    Posted by Tom Leckrone | May 2, 2012, 7:30 am
    • Tom, totally agree with that last sentence. That phrase, “Hangin’ in there,” takes on a whole new meaning. All you can do it hang on to God and trust him. What your head knows to be true has to override what your heart is feeling. Glad things are settling down even a little for you, brother.

      Posted by mikedellosso | May 2, 2012, 9:42 am
  2. More timely than you can imagine. I’m trying to pull stuff together for my very first writers’ conference and I’m feeling massively overwhelmed and underqualified…so am I really called? Right before I clicked over to read this I was doing some serious “shadow boxing.” Thanks for reminding me that they are just shadows. Blessings.

    Posted by goldenprayerbear | May 3, 2012, 11:37 am
    • It was at my first writers conference that I met an author who introduced me to an agent friend of hers who found me a publishing house. I felt way out of my league too. You never know what God is going to do. He likes surprises 😉

      Posted by mikedellosso | May 3, 2012, 1:26 pm

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