Day 4 of Thoughts on Psalm 23
“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” (Psalm 23:4, ESV).
What is your greatest desire as a Christian? All of us should want to have a more intimate relationship with our Lord. But what is our expectation on how we can realistically get there? When we signed up to be a Christian, what did we think our lives were going to be like? Maybe I’ll go to church a couple of days a week. I’ll put the fish sticker on my car window, and I’ll only listen to Christian music. Maybe this is a little exaggerated, but you get the point, right?
Intimacy can develop in a variety of ways, but the one we may not be in favor of is through trials. Interestingly enough, trials often bring people closer together. I’ll never forget when my family faced one of the biggest trials we have ever encountered. One of the pillars in our family—our dear mother—was hospitalized with an unusual infection in her throat. We didn’t think much of it at first, but the situation quickly turned very serious. You could see it on all of our faces—we were afraid. We didn’t really understand what was happening, and for the first time ever, we were all wondering if our mom was going to make it and pull through.
It sure felt like we were in the “valley of the shadow of death.” It was only natural for us to feel uncertain and afraid. However, in that hospital, God showed up and lovingly revealed Himself to us. I felt His presence like never before. The One who created man and provided redemption for us was standing right by my side. I didn’t understand what was happening with my mom, but God did. I’d had a relationship with God for 26 years at that point, but I got to experience Him in a completely different way. That year was hard, but God led our family through that trial. He thankfully answered our prayers, and we saw my mom make a full recovery, by His grace.
Trials aren’t easy. They are not enjoyable, and none of us look forward to experiencing them. But if our greatest desire is to obtain a more intimate relationship with God, then maybe our attitude toward trials needs to change. God often uses difficulties to chisel off our rough edges and challenge us to grow in our faith. Many of us have probably heard the quote, “God will never give us more than we can handle.” However, a close friend once told me, “God will give us more than we can handle because it will force us to put our faith completely in Him.” That’s what God wants. He wants us to trust Him and realize that no matter what trial we are called to experience, He will be right there with us.