You’ve probably read Psalm 23 many times. You’ve preached it, and you may have read it at the sickbeds of people you’re serving.
Today, we need to read it again. Psalm 23 provides encouragement for the valleys we face in life—and today we’re facing some valleys. As a pandemic stretches across our world, we’re facing increasing health and financial concerns. These are not just difficult days for those we are serving.
These are tough days for pastors, too.
Psalm 23 provides tremendous hope for what we’re experiencing. Through this chapter, God reminds us of three powerful truths we can cling to when we’re afraid.
We are not alone!
God is walking through the valley with us. Psalm 23:4 says, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me” (NASB).
You deal with life’s shadows by turning to the light. You can’t see the shadow and look at the light at the same time. Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12 NIV).
Stop focusing on what’s scaring you, and focus on Jesus. He is with you right now. When you get your focus off of your fear, you can focus on God and what he wants to do through you. You may not be able to see him, but he is there.
Valleys are different for a believer than a non-believer. That difference isn’t the absence of the shadow. It’s the presence of the Shepherd.
God has a purpose for our problems.
Psalm 23 tells us over and over God works for our good. He gives us everything we need (v. 1), gives us rest (v. 2), gives us strength (v. 3), and leads us down the right path (v. 3). Psalm 23:6 says, “Your goodness and love will be with me all my life” (GNT).
The consistent message of Scripture is that God cannot do evil. As we go through these valleys together, we need to remember that God will use these difficult days for our good.
God loves to take the difficult times of our lives and use them to build our character. Paul tells us this in Romans 5:3-4: “We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation” (NLT).
Hosea 2:15 says, ““I will transform the Valley of Trouble into a gateway of hope!” (NLT). God will do this through today’s valley as well. He will work it out for good.
As believers, we can be absolutely certain that there is a purpose in our pain.
Our reward will last forever.
No matter what happens to our earthly bodies, this is not the end of the story. Heaven will be worth any valley we go through today. There we will be rewarded for our faithfulness during our time on earth.
The Bible says heaven is real—and we’ll be there forever. No valley, no matter how long it seems now, will last near that long.
2 Corinthians 4:17 says, “We have small troubles for a while now, but they are helping us gain an eternal glory that is much greater than the troubles” (NCV).
I don’t know how you’re experiencing this valley. I don’t know what fear keeps you up at night. Maybe you’re scared of getting sick. Maybe you’re scared of someone you love getting sick. Maybe you’re scared you’ll have to close your church.
I do know that you have a Shepherd walking through this valley with you. I know God will work good out of this situation. I know the valley won’t last.
Take some time to soak in Psalm 23 today—not just for the people you’ll walk through this valley with but for yourself and your family as well.
We’ll walk through this valley together as we look at it in light of eternity. Revelation 21:4 tells us: [God] will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever” (NLT).
This is not the end of the story.