Though I walk through the valley…

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“Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me…” Psalm 23:4

When my mind goes to a place of fear, it most often brings up images of a certain season in my life.  It was a short season, but intensely painful.  I was in my senior year of college, and the valley was dark.  I learned firsthand what evil was and I was very uncertain of my place in the valley.  Funny thing about valleys, you often do not know it’s coming until you reach the darkness.  Then it is palpable.

Although I knew that God had been protecting me through my entire life, I had not experienced the calming presence of God in such a tangible way prior to this particular valley.  In order to truly know the value of something, you must also know the cost.  Since the fear was great, I could see how my Rescuer was greater still.  But in order to really see how beautiful the light was, I had to have journeyed through the darkest valley.

Knowing this, started when I was much younger.  I believe that God taught me in a tangible way about how to trust Him, through my daddy.  Daddy’s presence was faithful and his rescues were, in my mind, heroic…

My sister and I had gone out to play in the freshly fallen snow.  We were typical little girls, stomping in the snow and probably just focusing on our silly footprints or what our snow angels looked like.  Meanwhile, some neighborhood boys thought it would be fun to throw snowballs at us.  We quickly saw that we were out of our league and turned to run home…but then we saw Daddy.  What had been feelings of fear or doubt quickly turned into confident knowledge that we would be fine.  Why? Because we knew who was with us!  We were confident in the one who was coming to “rescue” us.  Of course, Daddy caught those snowballs and started launching them back towards their makers.  I don’t really remember the rest, but I do remember how it made me feel.  How it still makes me feel…I knew the “ending” would not just work out, it would be magnificent.  I did not have to fear because I was not alone. 

And that is exactly the feeling the Psalmist is trying to help us understand in Psalm 23.  The presence of God is calming, because we know who is with us.  The knowledge is built over the years as we climb the mountain tops even before we drop into the darkest valleys.  He is with us.  We experience God and we trade in those feelings of fear and doubt for ones of confidence.  We become confident in our Rescuer.

When God instructed Moses to enter the land of Egypt to rescue the Israelites, he was terrified.  He came up with all sorts of excuses and was pretty direct with God.  And to be that direct with God, He must have really been scared about the job that he had just been given…so in a last-ditch effort, Moses asks God who he should even say was the one who sent him.  Here is how God answers:

“God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.  This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’”  God also said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites, The LORD,the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has sent me to you.’ “This is my name forever, the name you shall call me from generation to generation.” (Exodus 3:14-15)

God declares His name.  He shows us who He is.  This mighty God who was with Moses, is the same one who walks with us through the valleys.  As you read this, if your valleys are oh so dark, declare out loud that you will fear no evil, because I AM is with you!

{Picture is from Google Images}

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