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If you are walking through the valley of the shadow of death, all I can say to you today is hang on.
If you are walking through the valley of the shadow of death, all I can say to you today is hang on. (Charisma archives)

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If you are walking through the valley of the shadow of death, all I can say to you today is hang on. The psalmist makes a statement that says, "Though darkness is all around, I will fear no evil" (see Ps. 23:4).

My heart breaks for my brothers and sisters in Christ who are under persecution, for those who are in abusive relationships, for children who are growing up without loving parents to guide them and instill in them an assurance of being loved. There are those who conspire to tear down our sense of worth and potential. They would have us live with a spirit of fear, intimidation, depression and oppression. That's why it is critical to remember the finished work of the cross when evil tries to press in on every side. Whatever situation you find yourself in, know this: God is present. Worship Him—recognizing and acknowledging His greatness—even in moments of great pain, and you will discover His grace and power is sufficient: "Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, 'My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness'" (2 Cor. 12:8-9, NLT).

When you are in the pit of suffering, there is only one direction you can go: up. Look up. Look for God. Look for your Redeemer. We know that's what Joseph did when he told his brothers why he forgave them (after testing their character): "You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people" (Gen. 50:20). He saw God's hand at work in his life. He never doubted God's love for him. He knew that even if he had lost his lovely multicolored coat, the sign of his earthly father's favor, he was favored by God—his heavenly Father—and that he still had a part in God's plan to save His people. Like Esther, he knew he was born for this moment and had an eternal destiny.

To rediscover these words in Galatians was a real strength to me: "But the fruit of the [Holy] Spirit [the work which His presence within accomplishes] is love, joy (gladness), peace, patience (an even temper, forbearance), kindness, goodness (benevolence), faithfulness, gentleness (meekness, humility), self-control (self-restraint, continence). Against such things there is no law [that can bring a charge]" (Gal. 5:22-23, AMP).

Mark and I have come through the hardest year of our lives. My life has not been without challenges, beginning in childhood, but honestly, I have felt so protected in my days and years. Breast cancer was a new level of deep suffering. My theology was put through a sieve, and I had to lean into every Scripture I knew to be true about God's providence, and that it was not His desire that I or my family should suffer. To see His kids in pain hurts Him too. To fully trust God during times of immense pain is one of the great gifts of a trial. You find the beautiful Holy Spirit is there, no matter how broken you are or how disappointed you are or how hopeless you feel.

The stance of worship is made possible only through the power of the Holy Spirit. We worship Him in our moments of success. But we also worship Him in suffering, when we are in the wilderness.

Are you suffering? In pain? Discover God's grace in worship. Be honest, but listen. Look up. Take to heart Paul's words: "No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us" (Rom. 8:37).

No One Like You

There's no one like Jesus
There's no one like Jesus
Rescued me from darkness
Fill my life with gladness
Carrying my burdens
Peace in every battle
There's no one like Jesus
Calm in every storm
You walk with me through suffering
You will not let me go
Your presence overwhelms my heart
Lord there's no one like You
There's no one like Jesus
There's no one like Jesus
Strength in times of weakness
Joyful in Your presence
You meet me in my sadness
Walk with me through fire
There's no one like Jesus
Calm in every storm
You won it all at Calvary
The saving grace of God
I'll never be the same again
Lord there's no one like You
The heavens are open over me
Your glory is like the sun
And nothing can separate me
From Your love  


Darlene Zschech is the author of Worship Changes Everything: Experiencing God's Presence in Every Moment of Life. She and her husband, Mark, are pastors of Hope Unlimited Church, a multisite congregation in New South Wales, Australia. A singer, songwriter and worship leader, Zschech is perhaps most famous for the song "Shout to the Lord."


Taken from Worship Changes Everything. Copyright ©2015 by Extravagant Worship Inc. Published by Bethany House Publishers, a division of Baker Publishing Group (bakerpublishinggroup.com). Used by permission.

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