GodReflection: Tenacious Trust
Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me. Psalms 23:4
I don’t remember his age. The man was no more than a shriveled up skeleton of skin and bones. His wrinkled and cracked skin made him look even older than his obvious old age.
A life-long abuser of alcohol left a trail of hurt, abuse and neglect. Sclerosis of his liver made it clear death stood outside the door with a grip on the doorknob ready to enter at any moment.
Humbled on his deathbed he wanted a message from God.
I began to read David’s Psalm:
The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.
A faint smile broke through. Aged and within death’s shadow he had never before heard Psalms 23.
In subsequent days he continued to request the Psalm each time we were together. It must have shed a flicker of light upon the darkness of his valley.
Shortly before his death, his son and other able bodied men from among the believers, lowered Mr. Rocky into the waters of baptism and raised him up pure and clean ready to go to a new disease free eternal home.
To walk through life is to encounter dark valleys. Whether short, deep or extended, all of life’s valleys are dark.
Rather than spend an entire lifetime void of hope and trust, as children of God who follower Christ, we recognize the Shepherd’s presence in the valleys.
I have had more than my share of mountain tops. Yet, it is unreal to expect life to be composed of only wonderful experiences.
I don’t know how my trek through dark valleys compares with others.
I do know my walk in dark places pales when compared with what many have endured.
I have also noticed that one of the enigmas of life is the degree of frequency, the intensity of the darkness, and the length of the walk found in dark valleys and lonely canyon floors.
However, just as my life is not lived upon 24/7 mountain top experiences, neither is it lived in the dark valleys.
Blessed by both, mountain tops bring joy while valleys bring pain and growth.
I see no purpose in a rehearsal of my own valleys in this post. However, in personal reflection—although not perceived at the time—dark valleys built tenacity in my trust factor.
It is between mountain top experiences and dark valley walks that I live the “normal” days of life.
It is from remembrances of His presence in the dark valleys, and the recollection of the Shepherd’s love when fear from the shadows crept into my hurting soul, that I can stand confident with the knowledge that I will never have to face a dark valley alone.
The sad truth is there is always loss in the valleys. The good news is as loss slips from one hand, my other hand feels the warm grip of the Shepherd. And in that firm hold I find another strand that strengthens my trust muscle.
Could it be that over the course of a life it is in the multiplicity of such loss-gain experiences while in the presence of the Shepherd that tenacious trust is formed?
Dr. Gary J. Sorrells
A GodReflection on Valleys Build Tenacious Trust.