I have heard it said many times before, usually when a couple is celebrating an anniversary, “Through the high’s and low’s of life… or through the ups and downs he/she has stayed right by my side.” Well, if you have walked with anyone for any length of time you know that there are highs and lows. The reality is, we do not have the highs without the lows. This is not a new thought. King David alludes to the highs and lows of life in Psalm 23.
The highs: He makes me lie down in green pastures (vs 2). He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul (vs 3). He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. He prepares a table before me (vs 5). Surely goodness and mercy follow me (vs 6).
The lows: Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death (vs 4).
What was David’s source of contentment? In vs 1 he said, the Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. Some versions say, “there is nothing I lack.” In other words, the Lord is all I need! David had learned to have great faith and trust in the Lord’s promises over the course of his life. He knew that when the valley of the shadow of death came, that God was walking with him, he did not have to fear. David’s faith was exercised before the trial came (1 Samuel 17:34-37) even as a shepherd boy.
Sunday evening, I asked you to spend some time with me this week in a Psalm of David, Psalm 27. Take this time that we have been given to stay in our homes to “dwell” in the Lords presence, “gaze upon the beauty of the Lord (vs 4).” The result will be great confidence in the Lord (vs 3), a heart full of worship to the Lord (vs 6), a deeper dependence on the Lord (vs 9), a plea for his wisdom and leadership (vs 11), and patient endurance (vs 14).
If you have ever trained for an athletic event, you know that you will train months in advance of the competition. If you wait until the day of the competition, you will crumble.
Today is the day to prepare your hearts for tomorrow’s troubles. The book of Ephesians would have been very different if Paul did not believe with all his heart that Jesus was all he needed. Paul identifies as a prisoner for Christ (3:1, 4:1). He has been stripped of all he has, including any freedoms he enjoyed previously. Yet, he writes a letter of encouragement to the church saying, it is worth it and now it is your job to train up disciples to lay down their lives for the sake of the Kingdom (Eph 4:12-14).
This same Paul wrote to Timothy saying, “Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness (1 Timothy 4:7).” He would go on to say, “godliness is of value in every way.”
As we face a world wide pandemic that is predicted to escalate, we must now, as the church, seek the Lord’s face, repent, call on his leadership, submit to him wholeheartedly (with joy) in whatever circumstances we find ourselves in, and prepare to serve him. Commit yourself to training for godliness, seek to grow in his love, so that you may know his good and pleasing and perfect will for you. As you gaze upon the Savior by dwelling on scripture, prayer, and songs you will know God better and know better how to love.
In the coming days, weeks, and months be prepared to serve as the hands and feet of Jesus. Know that as we walk through the valley of the shadow of death that He is with us! Choose faith over fear… He alone is our refuge.
Is there a neighbor that you should check on? Do you know someone in need that could use a meal? Who are you praying for that would turn from their sin and turn toward God in this time?