A standard practice I have when visiting someone in the hospital is to ask the patient if there is a particular passage of Scripture they would like me to read to them. This morning one of the people I visited requested that I read Psalm 23; certainly a tried and true passage of Scripture that has brought peace and comfort to God’s people for many, many centuries.
Today I was particularly impressed with verse 4:
“Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me.”
It’s my observation that almost all of us walk-through dark valleys on a fairly regular basis. The dark valleys we travail are many and varied: unemployment, health concerns, financial stresses, marital difficulties, rebellious teenagers, depression, loneliness, addictions, etc.
It makes sense that such dark valleys would produce fear within us. In these valleys the future is uncertain. Hope is often fading very quickly. We can feel isolated and abandoned.
It is precisely in the dark valleys that God calls upon us to trust him despite the darkness. Even in times where we may not feel God – he is no less present. That, my friends, is a matter of faith! God is proven himself in my life over and over again as a faithful counselor and a generous provider. He has never let me down. I will choose to believe he is in control and working out his purposes for my life even when my human nature screams at me to be afraid.
I often think of this well-known quote by the Holocaust survivor Corrie Ten Boom:
“When a train goes through a tunnel and it gets dark, you don’t throw away the ticket and jump off. You sit still and trust the engineer.”
I know that many of you reading this are in the midst of a dark tunnel right now. My prayer for you is that you will sit still and trust the engineer.