There are many parts of the Bible that are universally familiar, even to people who have never stepped inside a church or don’t consider themselves religious at all.
One of these is Psalm 23: David’s most famous psalm. It is used in funerals, it has been set to music. Everyone knows this passage of scripture as it is a source of comfort to those who feel lost and speaks of provision and protection for those who trust in God.
The part of this Psalm that speaks to me most often is verse 4
Even 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.
This says to me that when we go through the valleys and trials of life, we don’t go through them on our own. Everyone has wilderness experiences in their life; times when the going is tough and we find our faith stretched to the limit; times when we have to hang on and use everything we have and know to survive. We are tested and tried and we think it will never come to an end.
However, this verse promises that at those times God is right with us in the middle of ALL of it. I used to think that in trials, God sets us off at the start of our difficulties and then goes to the other end waiting for us to come out the other side.
This would make the whole experience much like a game of pooh-sticks, when you drop a stick off a bridge into a river and then rush to the other side to watch it re-emerge – only sometimes your stick got caught under the bridge and never makes it.
God promises that He is right with us during our most difficult times of life and isn’t waiting for us to come through the trial so He can say, “Good, you made it through that one”. He hears our prayers and provides for our needs so that we will make it though. He is our God and He is with us whether we think He is there or not, whether we can feel Him is not. We may be going through, but we are not doing it alone.
Life is not a game of pooh-sticks!