I was recently reminded, as I was about to walk into a difficult situation, that I am not walking alone. That no matter what I will face, or what is behind that closed door, I have somebody walking besides me. I do not have to fear.
The Lord is my Shepherd; I lack nothing.
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 forever.
~ Psalm 23
This Psalm has been in the back of my mind since the beginning of the year. It brought comfort and peace to my heart in many situations. And though, as a child, I did not grasp the meaning of it, through the years I began to understand that God is my Shepherd and I am His sheep. And that the true Shepherd does not run away when trouble comes. He does not abandon when the path gets tough. That He provides and leads His sheep to places of rest and abundance.
And when the enemy attacks, He protects and fights for the sheep.
And when the sheep gets hurt, He carries it and bandages the wounds.
And even when the sheep disobeys and walks on a side path, the Shepherd searches it out and brings it safely to the fold.
And that, following the Shepherd does not mean the absence of trouble or difficulty. And, dark valleys are not the end, nor are they a place to set up camp. But, these are all opportunities for Him to reveal His power and His glory.
Trials are not a respecter of persons. And I might not know your most recent diagnosis, or the storms that rage around you, or the people that come against you, I do know that you can experience peace even in the middle of difficulty. That the Shepherd has not abandoned you and He walks with you through the valley. That He fights for you and will bring you out victorious. That He will restore you and carry you in the safety of His arms. That your situation is not a dead end. And that there is rest, goodness and mercy in the presence of God our Shepherd.
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. ~ Psalm 46:1