Even when walking through the dark valley of death I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me, guarding, guiding all the way.
Psalm 23:4 TLB
Life sometimes takes the best of believers through very difficult terrain. None of us is exempt from trials and tribulations. That’s just how it is. Life is like that. Rough patches along the way are inevitable. Don’t waste time asking why. Rather, think about HOW to triumph through it all. That’s the beauty of our Scripture for today.
The psalmist acknowledges that passing through ominous seasons is a fact of life. That’s why he says “when walking through”, rather than “if I walk through”. So how does the psalmist cope with this unavoidable reality?
Firstly, HE REFUSES TO BE AFRAID. Observe that doesn’t mean the situation is not threatening or menacing. It just means he chooses to trust in God in spite of the reality of the intimidating situation.
Personally, as a leader, I have faced many situations when I felt the strong assault of the spirit of fear. I know what it is to be tempted to ignore my convictions, suppress my conscience, or to throw in the towel. But the joy I’ve felt whenever I’ve stood my ground against fear is out of this world. I wouldn’t trade that for anything!
You see, courage is not the absence of fear, but choosing to proceed in spite of the risks. At the end of the day, courage is a choice. Nelson Mandela said, “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”
Beloveds, I beseech you by the mercies of God to choose faith over fear. Refuse to succumb to fear. Even now as we read and hear of so many tragic stories about the pandemic sweeping across this blue planet, don’t give in to fear.
KNOW THAT YOUR HEAVENLY SHEPHERD IS WITH YOU as you walk through this valley of the shadow of death. That awareness is the second reason why the psalmist copes with the unavoidable reality of passing through Death Valley. You and I should also be more and more aware of the guarding and guiding presence of Yahweh in our lives through His Spirit. That makes all the difference.
Do you believe that God is with you right now in your work situation? Do you recall that one of Jesus’ names is Immanuel, God with us? Do you believe that His Word and Spirit guard and guide you and your family through it all? Do you believe that He has given His angels charge over you to keep you in all your ways? If you do, like the psalmist, go ahead and confess it. Don’t just think it; declare it. God bless you as you walk THROUGH this valley fearlessly and faithfully. Pastor Josh