The Lord Is My Shepherd
One of the brightest places where the name of Christ is to be seen and heard is found in Psalm 23:4, ESV, “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.”
It is easy to the natural eye to see and believe that the Lord is with us in soul prosperity. In good days of green pastures, still waters, and righteous paths.
But, how about the dark days of suffering? What about the hospital bed? What are we to think when our property is torched? Our church desecrated? Bodies mangled? Autopsy reported?
Faith and Gold
Like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, God ordains our furnaces for His glory. Faith grows in the furnace. Especially when we know that our Father is the one refining us in it.
Faith is more precious than gold (1 Peter 1:7). Robert Murray M’Cheyne once wrote, “Dark days make Jesus bright.”
Even when we are in the valley of the shadow of death, we have peace and contentment and rest — because Christ is with us.
In 1636, Samuel Rutherford was banished from Scotland for his gospel preaching, his writings, and his refusal to conform to the episcopal church — and he was imprisoned for two years.
He was away from his congregation, away from his hometown, and away from gathering on the Lord’s Day; yet, Rutherford found great joy in prison. He writes that his prison became “Christ’s palace” to him.
Rutherford began to love Christ more, enjoy him more, and grow in faith because of the dark prison he was thrown into for preaching.
As Christians, we only face the shadow of death. Ugly it is still, but because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, He sweetens even death to the believer.
The Grace in the Valley
Jesus’s death and resurrection de-fanged death. The threats of hell and judgment after death for the Christian are removed. Therefore, death is but a step over time.
And in suffering in this world, He is with you. He comforts. Christ is our heaven. Hell with Christ is better than heaven without him.
Samuel Rutherford again writes, “Losses, disappointments, ill-tongues, loss of friends, houses, or country, are God’s workmen, set on work to work good to you, out of everything that befalleth to you.”
“Let not the Lord’s dealing seem harsh, rough, or unfatherly, because it is unpleasant. When the Lord’s blessed will bloweth across your desires, it is best, in humility, to strike sail to Him, and to be willing to be led any way our Lord pleaseth.”
God’s love is dwelling in the valley. He is found sweet in the bitter. We will gladly pass through every valley if Christ is there. He who suffered for us on the cross, will not leave us in our suffering. He will sustain us by His grace and power.
Jesus is our all in our alls. Even at death, we will not be separated but joined truly and eternally to our First Love.