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
I don’t think that there is one person whom I have ever met who has been exempted from hard times in life. There is a myth in much of Christianity that once you become a follower of Jesus you are “protected” from tough times. People interpret the “abundant life” that Jesus promises as if His role is to insulate us from the hard realities of life, but it just doesn’t happen that way. For those who trust in Jesus, we echo what David wrote when he penned those famous words in the 23rd Psalm.
From today’s Scripture, note that David, the author of Psalm 23, didn’t write, “IF I walk through the valley…” rather, he exclaims, “even though.” Hard times are inevitable and to be anticipated. It is part of what it means to live in a broken world.
There was a young man who went through horrendous hard times in his life. His name was Daniel and his story can be found in the book of the Old Testament that bears his name. One of the most “famous” stories that we know from Daniel’s life is when he found himself standing up for God and ended up at the bottom of a lions’ den as a result. Even though Darius the king respected Daniel, he had violated the king’s law and was quickly expedited to the lions’ den to suffer a sure and certain death. Daniel was thrown to the lions, but God delivered him. The king was so astounded by the way God protected Daniel that the king himself came to acknowledge the God of Daniel as his own God.
While we may never have to face being thrown to the lions, hard times will come. We can trust in God or we can allow the tough times to overcome us. When you are experiencing hard times, make God your highest priority. Build the foundation of your life on Him.
Further, we don’t have to face tough times alone. God has put people in your life in community to encourage and support you. As Peter said in his New Testament letter, “humble yourselves under the mighty power of God and He will honor and bless you.” With your trust placed firmly in God and His power to deliver, you too can survive the “lions” you face.
1. Have you ever felt that you have been eaten alive by your problems and hard times? What “lions” are you facing today?
2. What can God teach you about your problems? How can you view them differently knowing that God is with you?
Daniel 6; Romans 5:1-6; Psalm 23