"Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me"
Somehow the King James Version of that phrase from the 23rd Psalm resonates louder than any other reading. Especially starting with that first word "Yea".
Normally when we are in a mess, when nothing seems to be happening the way we want, when real danger looms on the horizon, our very first words are not "Yea, for the valley of death spiral I seem to be in." In fact, in the last week there have been several people who have expressed being in this valley with me. Absolutely a brick wall seems to be in front of you at every turn and you become more despondent by the moment.
Unless, of course, you believe the rest of the words of that phrase. In Viet Nam I had these words inscribed on my Zippo lighter (not quite the same exact words if you understand what I mean), but they were an encouragement nonetheless. But now, I get it. There is no valley we can experience where the Lord is not with us, standing virtually in the midst of the battle fending off evil that is trying to shed doubt and discouragement, holding up the shield of faith that we will make it through and become stronger when we do.
There are so many reasons that this valley happens to us, some not by our own design, but there are some that God sends our way to ensure that we are battle tested and ready for that fight and suffering that comes from it, so that we are capable of carrying on his message with real power.
Real power that others can see in the way we handle that valley, in the way we deliver his good news, and in the way we comfort others who struggle through this. The apostles had it, those that died in the Lions Den had it, missionaries who die in the Lord's service had it, the Christians the Muslims beheaded had it and those of us who are fortunate enough to live through these battles have it.
Yea the present circumstances that we face will not defeat us because our God is much greater than any evil coming against us. If you are presently in this valley, look to the one who knows where the mountaintop is that will help us climb out of that valley. All the medication and mind altering substances in this world cannot compare to his glory that shines through us when we become like his stars of faith.
Remember those other words, for thou art with me, for he will never leave us or forsake us, he is our shield and protector in the midst of our strongest trials. Regardless of the outcome, he will be with us, and we will be with Him!
Yea that's what I am talking about!
Glenn is an ex-Marine Viet Nam vet who is also a recovering alcoholic, clean and sober for 30 years. He has been involved in start up and ongoing recovery ministry at North Atlanta Church and Campus for the last two decades. He has a passion for outreach and to spread the message that the answer to lasting and fulfilling recovery from addiction is in a relationship with Jesus Christ. He and the ATB team are available to assist in your questions or needs on an individual basis and will do so maintaining complete confidentiality. You may e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.