Summer Breeze, Week 3 of 6: Return to the Dark Valley
Devotions for Mendakota friends, 2022
Rick Mattson (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Back to the Dark Valley
Several weeks ago I mentioned Psalm 23 to a few Summer Breeze subscribers. Verse 4 of that Psalm reads:
“Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”
King David of Israel wrote Psalm 23 a thousand years before the time of Christ. The dark valleys in his life consisted mainly of warfare, family conflict, and his own moral failure such as adultery.
Like David, all of us walk through dark valleys at some point. These valleys consist of sickness (such as cancer), injuries, and broken relationships.
You may be in a dark valley right now (a few members and employees have been sharing their stories with me, which I appreciate and can pray for).
Notice the promise in Psalm 23: I will fear no evil, for you are with me.
Devotional thought: “You are with me” speaks of God’s presence with us. He walks alongside, caring and comforting. In my opinion this is an under-valued part of spirituality.
I’ve sensed God’s presence of late as our daughter and her family (including five grandsons!) moved from Minneapolis to Texas. My wife Sharon and I are glad for them, but grieving the loss of personal contact.
Sometimes we don’t sense God’s presence because we don’t think of ourselves as worthy. We may not be active in our faith or we think we’re not good enough to merit God’s attention.
But God shows up NOT because we earn his favor, but because of his grace. It’s on him, not us. Our job is to simply say yes to his grace.
Other times we don’t sense God walking with us because even though we believe in him, we’re simply out of touch. Maybe we haven’t connected with him in awhile. We enjoy his gifts (such as family, friends, prosperity) but may forget the giver.
One of the best ways to get back in touch is to read Scripture and pray regularly. A good place to start is Psalm 23. * I have this psalm memorized, and recite it often.
In the New Testament, a place to begin is the gospel of Mark, which is a concise summary of the life of Jesus.
Next week: OK, it’s one thing to experience God’s presence in hard times. And this is great! But can we expect God to actually act on our behalf? Intervene? Solve issues? Heal sickness? I’ll talk about this next week (here).