“God is Near”:
It was my pleasure to “pinch hit” for Rocky Joyner and teach his Sunday School class yesterday morning. While it would have been a blessing to hear Rocky’s input on the 23rd Psalm, the teaching time went by so quickly there were many things I didn’t get to share. So, because I have this platform to work off every day, (lucky you), here are some of those unmentioned thoughts.
In verse 4 the Bible tells us the Lord as shepherd walks with us, “through life’s darkest valley.” The KJV says, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for thou art with me.” Any person knowing the 23rd Psalm has at some point in their lifetime, (or will) been encouraged and helped by this tremendous writing of David. This is not just a Psalm helping us through the passing of a loved one or preparing for our own death. It’s a passage that speaks to our past, present, and future aspects of life. The promise is, wherever we are on our life’s journey, as a believer, WE DO NOT TRAVEL ALONE – the GOOD SHEPHERD IS ALWAYS WITH US!! Modern Bible translations state, the shepherd walks with us, “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me …”.
“Darkest valley,” suggests facing something we cannot control. It’s during these times when we are afraid, anxious and don’t know what to do. It’s during these times we find it difficult to pray because our heart is so broken, we don’t even know what to say. Many times, we feel like the father with the demon possessed son when Jesus asked if the father believed the boy could be healed? The father said, “Yes, Lord I believe, but help my unbelief” (Mark 9:24). We believe also, but when pain and helplessness take over our minds, it’s not that we don’t believe Jesus can, “But will He,” answer our prayer? The Christian life is a walk of faith. There will be days when our faith is tested. For those walking through a “dark valley” today, even though it’s difficult, remember, the same God, the same “Good Shepherd” David wrote about, is still present walking every step with you. You are not alone.
Like David, when going through dark places, let’s continue to put our trust in God. No matter what, we must keep our eyes on the Savior. Don’t let Satan win this battle but have the confidence in our Lord as sheep do in their shepherd. When danger is near, the shepherd is there to guide, protect and comfort them. Our God is ready to embrace those who are nervous and afraid. His comforting arms are reaching for you while whispering, “I have this my child – it’s My battle not yours.” May God richly bless every person that’s hurting and afraid today.