4 Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me. 5 You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings.
As Children of God, we don’t have to be afraid of what’s to come, nor do we have to fear the unknown. Our only requirement is to trust God as He instructs us in this passage in Psalm 23. Heavenly Father wants us to know that He is with us always. He will never leave us nor forsake us, in good times and in the bad times. When we need comfort, Philippians 4:7 tells us that He will give us a peace that passes all understanding. When we need protection, Psalm 110:5 declares that He will stand at our right hand to protect us. He is a mighty and all-powerful God who loves His children, and we can depend on this with our whole hearts.
If these last few years, particularly the last few weeks, have shown us nothing else, it’s revealed that the world will constantly sink low and bring about the unexpected. But our God is faithful to those who love Him. We don’t have to walk around shaking in our boots. Ephesians 1:3 says that God has blessed us with all spiritual blessings because of our union with Jesus Christ, and through our blessed Redeemer, we are complete!
Passages like Psalm 23 are extremely comforting, especially during the lows in life, because tough times can make us feel lost. They can cause our thoughts to head south of what God has made us in Christ. It’s no secret that our darkest valleys can be found in the unpredictable and unexpected events that life sends our way. Not long ago, one of my dear friends witnessed how quickly things can change when he got a phone call from one of his older sons. He’d been in a car accident and was arrested for drinking and driving. At the time, his son had just graduated from college with a degree in criminal justice and had wanted to be a police officer since childhood. He applied to the police academy in hopes of finally making his dream a reality, but those dreams were shattered. My friend’s son faced mounting court fines and a lawsuit. He withdrew his application from the academy, and watched his dream slip away, all because of one bad decision.
The unexpected can shift our circumstances quickly. It can take your breath away, because you didn’t see it coming. Although life is constantly proving that in the blink of an eye, things can change, we must never forget that God is always and forever in control. 1Corinthians 10:13(NLT) states, “The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.” This verse lets us see how important it is for us to have faith in God. No matter how volatile and out of control life seems, Romans 8:28(NLT) affirms, “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”
God has given us His Word to strengthen us during uncertainty and change. Isaiah 40:29(NLT) tells us, “He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless.” We are His children, and He has equipped us to stand strong through our faith in Him. But if the Word of God is not rooted in our hearts and minds, we can become easy prey to believe or think we’re powerless. We can be tricked into thinking that God isn’t going to protect and take care of us, and once we allow this train of thought to spread, fear and doubt make themselves cozy in our minds and hearts. We can’t let this happen. God tells us in Hebrews 11:6 that it is impossible to please Him without faith. We must believe that He exists and that He rewards us.
God is a Rewarder! He loves us, and He gave His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to save us. He did this when we were at our worst. Romans 8:33(NLT) tells us, “Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else?” And in Romans 8:38, He puts the icing on the cake by telling us that nothing, absolutely nothing, can separate us from His unconditional, limitless love. None of us have any power of our own, but our merciful God has all power in His hands, and He promises in His Word to use His power to protect and care for us when our faith is in Him. We have the distinct privilege and responsibility to increase our faith in Heavenly Father and here are spiritual practices that can help us to do so:
Philippians 4:6(NLT) tells us, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.” As believers, we are required to pray to God often, and to do so in the powerful name of Jesus Christ. This strengthens our relationship with God and adds to the intimacy we share with Him. Too often, we give the world a higher percentage of our time and energy and not enough to God, and this must change. Proverbs 15:29(NLT) tells us, “The LORD is far from the wicked, but he hears the prayers of the righteous.” Not only must we pray for ourselves, but we must pray for others. God is pleased to hear from us our James 5:16 assures us that the prayers of the righteous have wonderful results.
2-Read God’s Word
God’s Word is life to us. His Word is alive, and everything that we need for life and living is contained in it. When times get tough, it is extremely helpful to know scriptures that bring comfort and confidence in God. We need to renew our minds to those scriptures. This means that we should commit them to memory, so God’s Word becomes a part of us. It’s good practice to have a list of your scripture favorites, as well as a hard-copy of God’s Word, near your reach. This way you’re able to grab them for quick reference when you need it most.
3-Keep close to those that encourage you
Proverbs 18:21 warns us that life and death are in the power of the tongue. This demonstrates the potency of the words we speak. It cautions us against speaking negatively about ourselves, and it confirms that friends or associates that are not confident in the Lord may do more harm than good, especially during times of trouble and crisis. We need people in our corners that encourage us to keep our faith firmly planted in God no matter the situation or circumstances. This kind of mindset and attitude pleases God and will help us to stay calm and focused on His goodness and love during the most challenging times of our lives. ■
Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.
“Don’t Be Afraid, God is in Control”, written for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2022. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!