Friday, June 10, 2011

Through the Valley

Maybe the title of this blog is a familiar phrase to you, maybe its a foggy memory of something you're sure you used to know, maybe you think I made it up (no way am I that original, as you may have noticed). But whether you've heard it a million times or today is your first intersection with this phrase, here's the skinny on "Through the Valley"

It is a phrase from one of the most famous Psalms (songs) in the Bible. Psalm 23. It's a beautiful song about God providing abundantly, even through the depths of suffering in our lives. While in the "valley of the shadow of death" God is present, bringing peace, healing and guidance at all times (even though it may not feel that way). So as we journey through our own "valley of the shadow of death" we cling to the promises we have for who God is and that He will ALWAYS be with us. Using this pain and blessing us in ways we never expected, to the point of over flowing. God doesn't wait until we're out of our valleys, He joins us in them. He doesn't give us promises only for the future, but for the present as well. He not only covers our deep wounds, he restores our souls.

When you are struggling through life (no matter what the source of struggle) you need to be able to lean on promises that this pain is not without purpose (or else despair can creep in). God does not enjoy suffering, He hates to see His children in pain. But because He is good, He's going to take this evil in your life and (somehow) use it for something that is Good. Scripture is filled with promises of God's relationship with us and His promises to us, and this song is no exception. One commentator breaks this Psalm into these  7 specific promises...
       The Lord is my Shepard therefore… 
          1.) I shall not be in want
          2.) I shall not lack rest (Psa 23:2) 
          3.) I shall not lack life (Psa 23:2)
          4.) I shall not lack guidance (Psa 23:3)
          5.) I shall not lack safety (Psa 23:4)
          6.) I shall not lack provision (Psa 23:5)
          7.) I shall not lack a heavenly home (Psa 23:6)

When you are in the valley, you have to cling to Truth, as your emotions will not bring it to you. You have to know it with more than your feelings, because the valley is dark and long and frightening.. It may seem you're lost in this valley, alone and aimless. Cling to the promise of Scripture. You are loved. You are provided for. You are within God's care even as you suffer. You have a future. You are never alone. Learning to cling to Christ is hard. But it's where you find out who you really are and what you really believe.

Psalm 23

A Psalm of David.
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.

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.

You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me 

all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD 


1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this reminder of God's promise!