ďEven 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.Ē Psalm 23:4
True confessions: Iím afraid of snakes. I really have no reason to be. Never been bit by one. Maybe itís their slimy, scaly, slithery, sneaky vibe. Or maybe itís the fact God chose Satan to appear as a serpent in the Garden of Eden. That certainly didnít help their reputation.
The other day I got a text from my wife with a photo of a dead snake by our doorstep. She chopped its head right off. She went all ďcountryĒ on it. She ainít scared. She ainít afraid. Thatís my girl.
We all are scared of something. Maybe itís a little deeper than spiders or dark or heights or public speaking. Is it failure? Or being misunderstood (thatís mine)? Or having your heart broken again? Not being able to provide for your family?
Someone told me once that the root of fear is loss of control. If for a second we feel our hands slipping off the steering wheel of life, we become fearful and stressed and sometimes downright angry. We scramble and hustle and do whatever it takes to regain control. If the last couple years have taught us anything, itís that control is an illusion.
In Psalm 23:4, God doesnít provide us an alternate route to avoid the ďvalley of the shadow of death.Ē I wish He did, donít you? Sickness and divorce and job loss and war and racism, you name it. And fear shows up at our doorstep and we ask, ďGod, is there some other way? Are you in control? Donít you care?Ē
And I donít know about you, but I prefer running, not walking through dark valleys. Just sayin. Why draw them out longer than they need to be?
But itís in the valley where we learn to depend on God. The mountains? Weíre good. Self-sufficient. Cruise control. Key word: control.
Itís in the valley where Godís presence and power can show off. When we fear, we get to experience His comfort. When we worry, we get to trust His Word. When we doubt, we get to believe in His promises. When the enemy slithers and lurks in the shadows, we have a brave God who ainít scared. He defends us. He fights for us. He protects us.
Prayer: God, thank you for being with me in this dark valley. Help me to trust you are with me, even if I canít see whatís in front of me. Help me to surrender control to you. Thank you for comforting me today. Amen