“Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me.” Psalm 23:4a (NLT)
A familiar passage, if there ever was one.This, along with John 3:16, may have been the first 2 Scripture references I ever memorized as a child.
And what a wonderful gift to first memorize and engrave upon your heart that God loved the world so much, that He gave up His Son for you to die and redeem your soul and bring you to life everlasting with Him, and then to assure you that you have no reason to be afraid- for He is with you, walking beside you. It is 2 of the single greatest Spiritual truths you can learn in this life.
You are unconditionally and recklessly loved.
And you are not alone. He walks with you.
He walks with you through the darkest, saddest, most hopeless moments and valleys of your life.
Through the loss of a loved one.
Holds your hand as you hear the doctor’s droning voice describing an untimely and discouraging diagnosis.
Sits with you as you are paralyzed by fear.
Picks your head back up when you are passed over for that promotion at work.
Gives your strength to carry on, even when you feel completely hopeless, lost, and with no direction. He guides your feet.
Whispers His love to you as you are battling depression and feelings of rejection, once again.
He tells us this in the Psalms because He Knew. He knew this earthly life was hard and full of pitfalls and valley because He lived it. He felt it. He was tempted. He was beaten and bruised. He lived.
I loved this devotion from Proverbs 31 last week. It whispered sweet reminders and big, meaty truths to my weary, road-weathered heart. It needed some refreshment.
Maybe yours does too?!?
“In life, we all certainly like mountaintop experiences better than valleys — the air is clean, the sun is shining, and the view is amazing. But the truth is, we’re going to go through valleys. It’s inevitable. You’ve observed that, haven’t you?
Jesus didn’t want us to be surprised by difficult times, so just before He died on the cross, He warned us, “Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows” (John 16:33b, NLT). “You will have …” means it’s not a matter of if; it’s a matter of when.
I’m sure you’ve noticed that you can’t plan valleys or schedule them. Who’s ever had a flat tire or a root canal at a good time?
But be encouraged that valleys are temporary; they do have an end. And valleys have a purpose. God never wastes our pain.
The apostle Peter wrote, “There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while.These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold — though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world” (1 Peter 1:6b-7, NLT).
When God assured Moses He would be with him as he led the Israelites to the Promised Land, God said, “I will personally go with you, Moses, and I will give you rest — everything will be fine for you” (Exodus 33:14b, NLT). I love Moses’ reply: “If you don’t personally go with us, don’t make us leave this place” (Exodus 33:15b, NLT). Amen, Moses — that’s exactly how I feel about going to strange, new places too.
What encourages me is that God never asks me to go through a valley alone.
Notice in our key verse that David, the one who wrote Psalm 23, refused to be filled with fear in the dark valleys, because God was with him in a very real and personal way: “Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me.” (Psalm 23:4a)
Earlier in this psalm, David’s comments about God are in the third person — the LORD is my shepherd … He makes me lie down … He leads me… He refreshes my soul … He guides me.
But when David gets to the dark valley, he switches to second person: “for you are with me” (v. 4). That’s oh so personal. It’s as if David sees the darkness ahead, and he reaches out for God’s hand. What a comfort to put our hand in God’s hand, as we take a step into the dark!
Pastor, writer and Bible teacher Andrew Murray once encouraged us to say: “I am here —
1. By God’s appointment.
2. In His keeping.
3. Under His training.
4. For His time.
Thank You, Lord, for that truth!”
TRUTH FOR YOU TODAY:
Hebrews 13:5b, “For God has said, ‘I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.’”(NLT)
2 Corinthians 4:17-18, “For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.” (NLT)
*Read more at http://proverbs31.org/.