One of my favorite chapters in the Bible is Psalms 23 because of how it describes God’s care for us and how he helps give direction in the struggles of life. From the opening statement about how the Lord is our shepherd and we will not be in want to how he will guide us in paths of righteousness to the goodness and love of God that will follow us all the days of our lives.
One verse struck me the other day and I think God revealed a truth that we need to recognize while dealing with the struggles of life.
Look at Psalms 23:4 – Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me, your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
Notice that it doesn’t say, “Even though I STAND in the valley of the shadow of death...” it says WALK. When we feel like we are in the valley of the shadow of death we need to not quit and just keep going. I have dealt with physical issues in my life and one of the greatest pieces of advice I have given people is to not give up and to keep moving forward! The key with this forward movement is that we are relying on God and his knowledge of where we need to go in those dark times and trusting that He has our best interests in mind.
One of the primary tools of a shepherd is their staff. The Biblical connotation is that the staff is for “catching and correcting” in that it helps to guide and catch a sheep that either needs to be tended or directed to safety. We need guidance and direction from the Lord and his wisdom to get us through the darkest valleys. Some people will say that God is just a crutch that people lean on that makes them weak and not able to stand on their own. Think of all the things that people in this world use as “crutches” or as “guidance tools” to get through life. Maybe they use their own feelings, or maybe they consult a psychic or turn to drugs or alcohol. The question is not IF we are looking for ways to be sustained and guided in this life but WHAT are we using? God is there for us to access and put our full trust in but we need to accept the fact that our finite minds cannot understand the infinite twists and turns of life and must learn to trust that God has it all under control.
The last thing to consider is the fact that this verse is talking about darkness, evil and being in a dark place. Many people will teach that if you are a TRUE follower of Christ that bad things won’t happen to you because you can just simply speak a Bible truth and bad situations will simply disappear. The speaking of Biblical truths are reminders to our minds and spirits that we are overcomers and can speak to storms of life or walk THROUGH difficult situations with our mind and eyes on Christ. Thinking that because we are followers of Christ that problems won’t come our way is foolish. We are never promised life without problems but that we have the ability to live above those storms and challenges in life.
Today, give God your full attention and dedication and don’t quit. No matter what you are going through, remember that you have a good shepherd who is guiding and directing your path even when life seems dark. Get your eyes off the conditions of the valley and look for God to move on your behalf even in the darkest hours of life.
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