Last Friday I told you about a dramatic time when God sent His angels of protection to keep our granddaughter Allie and her fiance Zechariah from serious injury or death. But God is also faithful to show up when we are walking THROUGH valleys -- imminent death, physical and mental illness, financial crises, or marital and family relationship issues. Two places in the Psalms keep speaking to me today and perhaps they will be good reminders for you, as well.
Psalm 23:4 -- "Yea, 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."
Psalm 46:1-3 -- "God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, Even though the earth be removed,
And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though its waters roar and be troubled, Though the mountains shake with its swelling."
Do you see the extreme circumstances in Psalm 46? Even if the earth is removed or the mountains are carried into the sea, if the waters roar and are troubled, if the mountains quake -- the verses describe a storm like none of us has ever witnessed or even imagined. Yet, God will be with us.
Notice the determined resolve in both passages: "I will fear no evil" and "We will not fear." This indicates a choice we make based on our solid faith in the power of God. These verses make a declaration. I acknowledge, Father God, that you ARE with me. You have been and will continue to be my refuge, strength, and "a very present help in trouble." During times when the problem doesn't go away, I am sure that You know about it and You are walking beside me as I go through the darkness.
Last week, my daughter had some troubling, dark days when her mammogram showed "something new." She had additional tests and a biopsy, then waited for the results. Since she had had two grandmothers and an aunt with breast cancer, she was dreading the very likely diagnosis and resulting treatments. We rejoiced when the results were benign (one of the loveliest words in the English language), but we never doubted that God would walk with our daughter through whatever was ahead.
I have a friend whose father just this week was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. There are dark days ahead for this family, but they are all firm in their faith and know that they won't be alone.
Then today I learned of a friend whose husband was escorted from his job of over 20 years because he refused to take the Covid vaccinations and another friend whose husband is facing the same scenario if he doesn't comply. Both men are the primary breadwinners. They have families. The waters are roaring, and the mountains are shaking in their worlds right now. There are hundreds, even thousands, more in the same situation. My friends, fortunately, are people with enormous faith, but what about those who have never called on the name of God and have no relationship with Him or His Son Jesus? I pray that they will feel God's presence and be able to see His guiding hand in the days ahead.
What about you? Are you walking through a valley right now? Have you watched a mountain be carried into the sea? Do you feel helpless and alone?
Read all of Psalm 23 and Psalm 46. Let the words become your own statement of faith.
Here is The Voice (a paraphrase) translation of Psalm 46:1--3 -- "God is our shelter and our strength. When troubles seem near, God is nearer, and He’s ready to help.
So why run and hide?
2 No fear, no pacing, no biting fingernails.
When the earth spins out of control, we are sure and fearless.
When mountains crumble and the waters run wild, we are sure and fearless.
3 Even in heavy winds and huge waves,
or as mountains shake, we are sure and fearless."
I don't know what next week will bring, but I ask God to make me sure and fearless, to make US sure and fearless, in order to be witnesses for our Lord and Savior. Amen?