I don’t think it’s an accident that the Psalm I happen to be on today is Psalm 23. It’s such a beautiful picture of the goodness of God, especially when we are in the valleys of life.
Whether it’s a valley of loss, a valley of sickness, a valley of financial problems, a valley of failure, or a valley of disappointment, this Psalm reminds us that God is right there leading and guiding us through it.
He is the Good Shepherd, the One who will never ever leave His precious sheep. Especially when they feel lost in the valleys and the shadows.
Having just gone through my personal journey with Covid, I have a heightened sense of the valleys and shadows. It wasn’t a fun 10 days of quarantine, I’m not going to lie. Besides how I felt physically, having to miss my only surviving in-person women’s retreats hurt. It hurt me spiritually. It hurt me emotionally. And it was devastating financially.
I found myself smack-dab in the middle of the valley. My spirit was at risk of being swallowed up in the shadows of despair.
Yet the beautiful words of David written so long ago came to life in a whole new way:
Lord, even when your path takes me through the valley of deepest darkness, fear will never conquer me, for you already have! You remain close to me and lead me through it all the way. Your authority is my strength and my peace. The comfort of your love takes away my fear. I’ll never be lonely, for you are near.
Psalm 23:4 (TPT)
God gave me the strength I needed, exactly when I needed it, and I felt His presence in the midst of the hard. I sensed His gentle hand holding me and gently guiding me. I still don’t understand it all, but I absolutely choose to believe good will come out of it. Because one thing I know for sure, God is good.
And here is the simple truth the Spirit is teaching me about shadows:
Shadows are only visible when a light is shining above them.
Shadows don’t show up in complete darkness. There is always a light somewhere.
That’s a life-changing truth we can all cling to right now as things are once again being shut down. This has felt like a year of never-ending shadows. It has manifested itself in different ways for each of us.
But if we make the decision to turn our eyes away from the shadows to the light that is above the shadows, we will conquer our fear. If we choose to look in the direction of His goodness and mercy, we will find the comfort and peace we long for. If we trust and believe that He is right there leading us through it, we will find strength.
Nighttime is when those shadows usually show up the most. For me, anyway. One simple thing that worked for me is uttering the name Jesus with each breath I took in moments of sleeplessness. As fear started creeping into my head and tried to rob me of the precious sleep my body desperately needed, I simply said the word Jesus with each breath I took. “JE” on the inhale, “SUS” on the exhale. Before I knew it, I would be back to sleep.
The valleys are real. The valleys can be long. The valleys can feel overwhelming.
Yet our Good Shepherd promises to lead us through them. We simply need to call on His Mighty Name.
God loves us way too much to ever leave us in the dark. Our part in this drama is to choose where we’re going to look, at the shadows or at the light that is above the shadows.
Today I choose to look at the light!
Hugs and love,