The 23 Psalms: Most of us memorized it as kids & some of us cling to it; but never in my soon to be 25 years of life did I ever think I would be living it.
Many of you know how the being of this Psalms goes; if not here is the first part.
“The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.”
For many of us in our lives there was a time or a place you can remember being close to God. So close you talked to him as a friend. Most of the time people feel closer to God after being saved, baptized, or a rough time in life. For me I remember reading this a brushing it off. I knew God was my savior. I knew God has a plan for me, that He loves me, and protects me; but little did I know that I would come to understand this Psalms so much it would become personal….
You see this first part for me comes second in my life. And I know what your thinking, “This lady has lost her mind.”. Yes maybe I have… Although this is the first part of the Psalms as David wrote; it doesn’t come first in my life like I imagined. Yes I knew about God. I trusted him, or I thought I did. I prayed, I sang about him, I tried to live a life for him as best I could; but I was missing the point of this passage.
It wasn’t until Shawn and I lost our son that I realized what David was truly talking about… Many people forget that David lost a baby too. Many of his prayers and Psalms are written about heart ache and grief. And I never understood why I loved Psalms so much until now… God was preparing me to understand what David was writing about. He was teaching me that going through the motions of life isn’t what he created us for. That trusting Him half way wasn’t what he was asking from us. And just like every other Christian on the planet; I thought I knew God. I thought I knew the Shepherd…and I did to an extent.
I heard the stories of Christians loving God so deeply that they had no fear of this world. I have heard and seen a few who could pray like no other, like they were talking to an old friend. Even though I prayed for that; never in a million years would I understand that God was trying to prepare me for the valley. All those years I was in the mountain top. And believe me it’s easy to praise God upon the mountain top. God is so near and you can see his love and grace just pouring down like rain, but it’s simple, it’s easy, it’s repetitive. It’s easy to get caught up into a routine. Praising God on the mountain is easy, but I was about to enter the second part of the passage.
Psalms 23: 4-5
“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.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.”
I was coming off that mountain top, to walk into the valley of the shadow of death…. and unlike the Psalmist; I was in total fear. My husband and I was facing our deepest fear… There is no preparation you could ever imagine to prepare you for your worst nightmare. As we entered into the valley- I remember thinking, “God your the great healer. You can fix anything. You can move mountains. You can do miracles. We need one.” That just wasn’t his plan. My husband and I entered into the valley unwilling. We wasn’t ready for this path, but God never leaves you nor forsakes you. So one step in front of the other, we walk. We walk through the valley of the shadow of death, and the more we travel the less I fear. Sounds crazy right? Well once you face your greatest fear in life and God proves that He is bigger- you lighten up a bit. Yes there are days I worry. I worry about the unknown. I get scared of our future for my husband and I, but then I’m reminded of who’s in control. You see that never verse says “For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.” When God walks beside you, he shows you true and real peace and comfort that I cannot explain in words. Yes you have to allow God to comfort you; which sounds crazy but once you go through something like this you being to understand. There are some days I just want to sit and not take a single step forward. I want to feel the pain and the hurt and God allows me. He never forces me to get up and keep moving. In those darkest days, I understand his genuine love. I understand the shepherd’s ways and his comfort.
Although I haven’t made it to the table which he has prepared for me, I do face the enemy I will be in the presence of when I do make it there. Many of us think of the enemy as our earthly enemies. People who have harmed you or hurt you with words and such; but that’s not what he is talking about. This enemy is Satan and his little friends… Jesus talked about this enemy in the New Testament telling us he comes to “steal, kill, & destroy.”. Just because we are Christians doesn’t make us immune from having bad things happen to us. That’s something I have had to come to learn. When you follow Christ you have a bulls eye upon your back from that moment on. Life won’t be easy and never did God once promise that it would be. He did however promise that he would travel with us on every journey we take and would never leave our side. That is why we will understand what it means to be truly filled with God where our cup will run over.
Last but not least the last verse.
“Surely goodness & Mercy shall follow me;
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord
I once heard someone say that they had two angels protecting them and their names were “Goodness & Mercy.”, and that’s something I believe as well. Angels are real. God created them to help us along the way of life. Just think of them as part of your “squad”. They always have your back along with God. And it says they will be with you all the days of your life. Which means until tomorrow, or until your 105. The part that I look forward to the most more than ever is that last verse. “And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever….”
I use to be scared of death even though I knew I was going to heaven. I use to dread hearing about the rapture or people talking about how they can’t wait for heaven. I didn’t understand it fully and I still have dreams and goals. It wasn’t until this journey I realized what the hype was all about. No pain. No tears. No hurt. No more loss! Heaven is where we get to worship God forever in perfect peace and joy. We get to worship God as if we are always on our mountain. We will never have to travel into another valley again. We will never have to face another enemy again. That is were we will be made new, perfect, and we reunite with our baby: loved ones: friends: and other believers on Christ. In other words it’s like church camp without the drama and forever.
So why am I explaining the 23rd Psalms to you ? Because I have and am walking in the shadow of the valley of death. I am learning to fear no evil. And right now I can feel God leading me beside the still waters. You see I didn’t take the same path David took. My path started from the middle of this Psalms, and I feel like there is someone out there who is entering into a valley. Let me tell you God is there. He didn’t bring you into the valley to hurt you, punish you, or leave you. He still loves you and is with you. You may not understand why your here, but you don’t have too. Just hold God’s hand and walk with him. Small tiny baby steps, giant leaps of faith, it doesn’t matter you pick the pace. He will lead us through this and you too may can help someone else out with your story. He uses every broken piece of our lives for his glory. All you have to do is be willing. Don’t just take my word for it, put him to the test. Ask God to walk with you. Read his promises. I can’t make you know what I know now.
I’m going to end this with a song called hills and valleys by : Tauren Wells. You can listen to it anywhere but here’s some of the words
“On the mountains, I will bow my life
To the one who set me there
In the valley, I will lift my eyes to the one who sees me there
When I’m standing on the mountain top, didn’t get there on my own
When I’m walking through the valley end, no I am not alone!
You’re God of the hills and valleys!
Hills and Valleys!
God of the hills and valleys
And I am not alone! “
You are not alone.