The Valley of Refreshment

June 14, 2022
Pastor Bob Rhoads

Every month I love to explore different things with God’s Word. So, for the month of June, I have been preparing this series called THROUGH THE VALLEYS. In life, there are valleys of challenges. King David wrote this well-known psalm and one of the lines said, “Yea, I walk through the valley of darkness, the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for God is with me. His rod and His staff they comfort me.”  No matter where I am, God is there with me in the valley. He may be at the mountaintop to celebrate your success, but it may not last a moment. Because we all have life in the valley, and this is where God wants to be. He wants to be with you – to guide you, to protect you, to provide you what you need daily. The valley may be beautiful to behold but there are obstacles to get through the path. I know I cannot go around it because      I must go through it to meet my destination. God is faithful and He is good all the time.

There is a line from a song during my research, “On the mountain I will bow my life; in the valley I will lift my eyes.”  When I get to the mountaintop, I need to learn to humble myself before the Lord and give thanks rather than look up and declared, “I did it!”  God is the One who brought me through this far. When I am in the valley, I need to lift my eyes to the sky where our Lord God is. Because God is my Help and my Stay.    I do not need to look down and be miserable. I need to look up because there is always a way out, according to 1 Corinthians 10:13:

No temptation[a] has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted[b] beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted,[c] he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. 

This summer will be the time of challenges for me and my family. For the first time in my ten years as a pastor for the Deaf Congregation, I finally will have my vacation for one month. I know you may be surprised to hear this, but it happened when you have obstacles in your life along the way when you least expect it. So, you have to deal with it right on. What amazes me is how I’ve endured this far because I know my God is with me every step of the way.

To prepare to have this vacation in July, I need to get things ready for my deaf leaders to take the lead. It is a lot of preparations, I admit. The series for July is LET FREEDOM RING. It is about enjoying the life Christ has free us to live. This is something I need to equip my team to seek God for His wisdom and guidance. And this is the opportunity for me to experience this freedom in a long time. It will be a time of refreshment in the valley. The first 2 weeks will be nothing but rest and catch up with family in Pennsylvania and then heading to the beach. I do not need to look at the time at all. By the third week, I will be the children’s pastor for ages 8 to 12 at DeafQuake in Alexander, Alabama. It is a summer Christian camp for Deaf children including Hearing children whose parents are Deaf. On the fourth week, my family and I will be attending Southern Baptist Conference of the Deaf (SBCD) in Clearwater, Florida. I am one of the workshop speakers. After the conference, we will stay a few days south from St Petersburg visiting with my sister-in-law and a few days in North Carolina with another sister-in-law before heading home.

This August will be different for me. I do not know what to expect, but I know that God will be with me still. The funny thing is that the series for August is THE COOLNESS OF THE NIGHT. It will be the time to be still before the Lord and enjoy the remainder of the summer, especially in the evening. All the series for 2022 I have been preparing were completed last December 2021, as the Lord led me. I was not expecting those series to fall in place for what I am going through. Before Jesus ascended into heaven, He reminded the disciples that He will be with them all the way to the end, according to Matthew 28:19-20. So, whichever the valley you are in right now, Jesus is with you every step of the way.

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age. 




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